Broken Windows, Reflections of a Fool


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Mary: the Rosary, the Relationship, and Dragons by Keith Berube Mary: The Rosary, the Relationship and Dragons reveals intriguing, little known aspects of the Rosary, gently catapulting the reader into a wondrous world of sweet, Donald Boland As with every great philosopher and theologian, the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, though perhaps the clearest expressed of all, has inevitably been subject Eastern Civilization from a Catholic Viewpoint by Fr.

In the process, The first half of It is hard to pinpoint one particular cause of how we feel in such Michela Ferri In translation now from the Italian. In her book, Michela Beatrice Ferri Anthony McLaughlin, J. Through the reception of diaconate a man becomes a cleric. Check back when this book is published.

Joe May: Clown…Fool…Performer…Writer…MC…Mentor

He first What is the nature of existence? Why am I here? What is real happiness? The big questions. Are there answers to these Voyage to Insight by Dr. It can be read straight through or you can add your own insights into the book and even Economic Science and St. Donald Boland This is a book on what is perhaps the most burning and urgent of social issues of our times, namely, the relationship between the science of Refractions of Light: Answers on Apparitions, Visions and the Catholic Church by Kevin Symonds For the past several decades, there has been a notable rise in claims of apparitions, visions and messages from heaven.

This growth has often led to Ronda Chervin In the past the word grief was used only to describe the sorrow of loss through death. Nowadays pain coming from other kinds of losses such as rejection and divorce are also seen to In Praise of Life by Dr. Otto makes the case that now, more than ever, public policy depends on the reality-based understanding of the world that it is science's main job to provide, yet for several reasons it is being disregarded, demonized, and sabotaged.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the world is nurturing scientific inquiry and taking its insights seriously, "Fool Me Twice" provides a valuable perspective on the history of science in the U. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the world is nurturing scientific inquiry and taking its insights seriously, putting the U.

Otto stresses that science is political because of the influence of knowledge on the balance of power, yet our politics is woefully uninformed by science. This wasn't always the case: our country was founded on the principle that unfettered pursuit and availability of knowledge by all of its citizens is the key to a successful democracy. Now, there are people trying to take away that principle, either for their own personal gain or because they simply don't acknowledge its value, and our democracy — along with much the world we have come to influence — is suffering as a result.

Science is an embrace of wonder at the Universe, yet it owes much of its success to paranoia and fear. The creation and proliferation of nuclear weapons in the middle of the last century is largely responsible for this. Suburbia and our interstate highway systems are direct responses to the fear of nuclear attack, and the early space program which put men on the Moon was a thin guise for the development of advanced weapons delivery technology. Because funding was assured, many scientists could avoid promoting science to the public and focus on their work.

As a result of this history, the public came to consider science itself a threat, and a backlash ensued which is largely responsible for today's anti-science attitudes, and the resulting change in politics has left science both without its assured funding, and with scientists unprepared to develop alternatives. Part of the backlash against science involved the embrace of postmodernism, which argues that reality is totally subjective. It had the effect of removing objective determination of facts from its critical role in policy debates, characterizing science as merely another source of opinion.

As such, it became a commodity in a "marketplace of ideas," rather than being used as a way to judge ideas based upon objective truth. Because, by its nature, the results of science are independent of how people feel about them, and scientists are forced by their discipline to reveal sources of uncertainty in what they do, science finds itself at a competitive disadvantage against opinions that claim absolute truth and cater explicitly to people's desires and cherished beliefs. Otto uses several case studies, including global climate change, which in the U.

Powerful interests, notably the fossil fuel industry whose power base is threatened and religious zealots who believe God would never allow an ecological disaster to occur, and distrust science because it disputes their view of the Universe's history , have sold the false notion that there is a lot of uncertainty in climate science's understanding of the role of greenhouse gases in changing the climate. Otto details a five step propaganda process used by climate change deniers and others to "manipulate democracy" toward their ends by sowing doubt in the science behind the facts that stand in their way and guiding policymakers to take the actions they prefer.

They are abetted in this deception by a lazy press that refuses to accept responsibility for exposing facts and holding people accountable for lying. The huge amount of economic, military, and political power wielded by the U. There are also great opportunities for future progress that science can inform and make a major contribution to. Otto proposes that scientists must actively engage in policy debates with an emphasis on the process of science: how it creates knowledge. It is this process, and its usability by anyone, that can provide much-needed credibility for the conclusions, which otherwise are treated as competing opinions.

Exposing people to the wonders of the Universe and the thrills of discovery achievable through science is also critically important, as it adds meaning through awareness, perhaps the greatest gift science can offer. Jan 17, masttek rated it it was amazing Shelves: top Some choice quotes: The larger issue is that science is walled off form the general population, a subject left to experts, science museums, universities, and the odd science festival. It has become commoditized and the public is merely presented with the conclusions and not exposed to the process.

And in its absence, other powers have rushed in to fill the vacuum in the public dialogue, making science into their whipping boy when its conclusions don't support their ideological predilections. This Some choice quotes: The larger issue is that science is walled off form the general population, a subject left to experts, science museums, universities, and the odd science festival. This is the problem science debates love: by putting science in its rightful place as an ongoing part of the police discussion of the nation, parents can become educated in the context in which they are used to taking in information--policy discussions that affect their lives.

Such people should not be trusted with making decisions that will have serious impacts upon others. This produces an unpleasant emotional state. This is why education is political in the first place, and why the children of scientists are the most likely next generation of scientists--and effect that is slowly striating society into knowledge haves and have nots and can only increase partisanship along science lines. It limits itself to the study of natural causes. It's why scientists do science: to apprehend the great beauty of nature.

They are Puritans, four hundred years hence, with more data, but still searching for that direct communion with wonder an the aesthetic. In this way science is not unlike art or religion. In fact art often anticipates and reflects the forms science discovers, as does religion. Science is much bigger than just solving challenges, as important as they are.

It is about who we are as human beings, about or ability to love, to wonder, to imagine, to heal, to care for one another, to create a better future, to dream of things unseen. Oct 03, Keelan rated it it was amazing. This book should be mandatory reading, especially during the current election season. I could only read this book in small doses because the portrait it paints for America's future is a bit discouraging, and I needed time to really think about what I was reading. The book is written with a sense of urgency, and at times I felt as though the author was almost desperate to connect with the reader, to demonstrate how very serious things are getting in American society.

The book has been researched This book should be mandatory reading, especially during the current election season. The book has been researched so thoroughly and written so well-it is riveting. The author examines how the scientific process and analytical thinking are under attack and have been for some time , and ultimately what this means for the ability of our government to function effectively. America is trending downward in many areas and the author argues that in order to reverse this trend, there will have to be a sea change in the way people think about the role of science in policy-making.

Science and technology impact every area of our daily lives from communications to national defense to transportation to food to healthcare, and yet there are only a handful of scientists in Congress. Compare this to China in where 8 of the 9 members of China's top Communist Party leadership are engineers, and the other one is an economist. Americans, in general, discount the important and critical role that science will play in the future of America and its relationship with the international community.

The book examines the historical context that helps explain the prevailing attitudes towards science and the scientific process fascinating , and it offers a glimpse into what the future might look like if the status quo remains unchanged chilling. This book represents a call to action not just for scientists, but for anyone who believes that reason and knowledge should be the standard by which legislation is drafted, rather than emotions and opinions.

Nov 27, Sandra rated it it was amazing Shelves: science , religion-philosopy. I found this book of enormous personal help since I have been grappling with why, why, why Americans have become so rejecting of science and scientists and what this bodes for our future. Over-population, fuel depletion, global warming, environmental degradation and the takeover of our country and other countries by fundamental religious fanatics of various stripes is of enormous concern to me, and Shawn Otto does a phenomenal job of explaining exactly how and why that has happened, no holds b I found this book of enormous personal help since I have been grappling with why, why, why Americans have become so rejecting of science and scientists and what this bodes for our future.

Over-population, fuel depletion, global warming, environmental degradation and the takeover of our country and other countries by fundamental religious fanatics of various stripes is of enormous concern to me, and Shawn Otto does a phenomenal job of explaining exactly how and why that has happened, no holds barred. I keep hoping that if I read enough of this sort of thing, I will become clear-headed enough to take people on and become more effective in advocating for the things I believe in--wait a minute, that is exactly how NOT to proceed since it is BELIEF that is largely the problem--be able to better explain why the scientific method matters and why it is important that government policies be based on actual knowledge instead of ideology.

Unfortunately, while the author's analysis is spot-on IMHO , it leaves this reader feeling very depressed about the future and our prospects for meaningful dialogue and change. I think things are going to have to get a lot worse before they get any better. View all 3 comments. Oct 11, Alison Coe rated it it was ok. While I think this book intended to have a good message that all people should know of before the next election, it just isn't written for the masses.

It is dry, terribly organized, and just very dull. As a scientist I found that this should have been tailored to the general masses who may not realize that this is a problem rather than the persons in the scientific community who know all too well this problem exists. Jan 11, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , science. Imagine if you will, a United States of America in which the Republican Party was extolling the virtues of scientific knowledge and its implications for American public policy, while the Democratic Party was seen as the one acting contrary to our best interests, woefully ignorant in current understanding of science; a most unlikely historical "fact" stolen from the pages of some vividly imagined, ornately written, steampunk science fiction novel.

Impossible, you, the intrepid reader might say, o Imagine if you will, a United States of America in which the Republican Party was extolling the virtues of scientific knowledge and its implications for American public policy, while the Democratic Party was seen as the one acting contrary to our best interests, woefully ignorant in current understanding of science; a most unlikely historical "fact" stolen from the pages of some vividly imagined, ornately written, steampunk science fiction novel. Impossible, you, the intrepid reader might say, or was it once, a most inconceivable truth?

Surprisingly, many will be stunned to read that it was indeed the truth, in Shawn Otto's well-written polemical history on American public policy with respect to science; "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America". A book that I, as a science-educated Conservative Republican, regard as the best book I have read with regards to American public understanding and appreciation of science, especially with regards to shaping public policy.

Shawn Otto, one of the founders of Science Debate, regarded by many as the "largest political initiative in the history of science", has written a book that should be required reading by all politicians, by the science-literate public, and especially by those most interested in the current dismal state of affairs that exists with regards to using science in making well informed public policy decisions by local, state and Federal governments within the United States.

A book worth reading since its prescriptions may offer us the best hope of preserving our democratic republic via a science and technologically-literate political leadership.

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto

Otto opens with a succinct introduction to the philosophy of science, and asks the rhetorical question of whether science is political via a succinct memoir recounting the birth of his organization Science Debate Chapters One and Two , that he co-founded with several journalists and scientists, most notably, physicist Lawrence Krauss and film maker Matthew Chapman great-great-grandson of eminent British biologist and geologist Charles Darwin. He demonstrates the substantial degree of interest shown by the Republican Party toward the natural sciences and technology by Presidents and senior political leadership for almost a century from the Civil War until the s Chapters Three to Five ; an interest which was reflected in the party's popularity amongst American scientists such as the eminent astronomer Edwin Hubble, still remembered for demonstrating the universe's current expansion.

A substantial expansion in American science and technology, driven by the atomic arms race between the United States, and first, Nazi Germany, later, the Soviet Union, and then, a decade later, the "space race" culminating in the Apollo Moon program, led to American science taking "a walk" from the American body public via the need to produce results in other words, to publish or to perish without any regard for public outreach, especially towards politicians.

However, I think Otto points too much of the blame on scientists themselves, and in advocating Carl Sagan's importance as a science popularizer - in many respects, I believe Sagan's friend, Stephen Jay Gould was far more important - offering faint rhetorical echoes of two themes superficially treated by his Science Debate colleagues, the journalists Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, in their book "Unscientific America: How Science Illiteracy Threatens Our Future".

One of the most memorable sections of "Fool Me Twice" discusses the role of postmodernist thought, especially its emphasis on "relativism", in accounting for increasing American antipathy toward science, despite technological successes like Apollo and the emergence of scientific "superstars" like astrophysicist Carl Sagan and Sagan's popular "COSMOS" television series Chapters Seven and Eight.

While others, including scientists like biologists Paul Gross - whom Otto notes as an important early Conservative critic of postmodernist thought's anti-science bias - and, most recently, Ken Miller "Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul" , have recognized this problem, only Otto has written here, in "Fool Me Twice", an extensive examination of its baleful influence on the American public's attitudes toward science, not only with regards to accepting biological evolution, but also, on issues like microwave radiation and the ongoing anti-vaccination movement; the latter especially prevalent within a substantial minority of self-described Liberal households with children ranging in age from infancy to early adolescence.

Otto argues persuasively how postmodernist thought has crept into the Religious Right's objections to biological evolution - especially in the version of "scientific creationism" known as Intelligent Design - and in its opposition to global warming "Chapter Ten" , and yet, as I have noted, Otto has spared no expense in condemning such thought as the philosophical rationale behind Leftist anti-scientific responses to vaccination.

Some Conservatives may ignore Otto's book, given its substantial anti-scientific orientation against 21st Century Conservatives and Republicans, but that orientation is quite sound, due to their embrace of Intelligent Design creationism and rejection of anthropogenic global warming. However, much to my amazement, Otto hasn't cited from the likes of Charles Krauthamer, George Will and John Derbyshire, their harsh condemnations of Intelligent Design creationism and ongoing efforts by Intelligent Design advocates to have "teach the controversy" laws passed in state legislatures.

Nor the eloquent arguments made by Conservatives like Larry Arnhart, and especially, the well known skeptic Michael Shermer "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design" , why it makes ample sense for Conservatives and Republicans to accept Darwin's theory of evolution via natural selection, since Darwin was inspired by Adam Smith's free market economics to envision his "economy of nature".

Otto could have also emphasized some interest within the Religious Right in hearing pro-science messages from physicist Lawrence Krauss and biologist E. Wilson; however, instead, Otto offers the reader only the future prospect of ecological doom as a credible possibility ignored by some intransigent, quite zealous, Conservative clerics and scholars, such as Fundamentalist Protestant Christian evangelist Charles Colson and Orthodox Jewish religious studies professor Jacob Neusner "Chapter Eleven". Nor do I agree with his wholesale condemnation of Conservative talk radio, especially when there are programs like the John Batchelor Show, that try their best to be both informative and objective, as well as the mainstream media's reluctance in emphasizing the reality of our ongoing war against Islamofascism, or in investigating the "spontaneous" origin of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its ties to the Radical Left.

And yet, these omissions do not detract from the overall excellence of Otto's book and of its dire warnings with regards to current and future American public - and especially, political - interaction with science, since our failure to heed them may mean the end of our two and a quarter centuries-old democratic republic. Americans, both Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, need to become conversant with science; "Fool Me Twice" is merely a most auspicious beginning in demonstrating how.

Reposted from my Amazon review Oct 28, Book rated it really liked it Shelves: science. Shawn Lawrence Otto provides the reader with not only the current state of science illiteracy in America but also the background and what we can do to combat it in the best interest of our democracy. This hard-hitting page book is broken out into the following five parts: Part I. Tomorrow's Science Politics and Part V. The Solution. Positives: 1. A well-researched and generally well-written book. A great defense of science. Great use of quotes, "Whenever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.

Another of my favorites, "A man may imagine things that are false but he can only understand things that are true. One of the strengths of this book is how political science truly is. Makes compelling arguments of how journalism, science and politics differ. Plenty examples of prominent Republicans current anti-science stance. Boehner, Bachmann, and Palin to name a few. Three main scientific areas of attack discussed in some detail: reproductive medicine, climate change and evolution.

Science as a reliable method for creating knowledge and why democracies should be based on it. I enjoyed the scientific split between Descartes and Bacon. Makes compelling arguments that democracy has a close relationship with science. Provides examples of countries that have fallen to authoritarian intellectual fundamentalism. The Republican Party was once in fact the party of science The fascinating tale of the Manhattan project. The strengths of the scientific method.

What defines it as knowledge. Thought-provoking concepts, Absolutism is considered morally objectionable because it leads to intolerance, but that is only true when it is applied to a matter of "faith, or opinion, but not knowledge. The dangers of the disassociation of hard-won knowledge of science. Pseudoscience exposed. What the majority of people want I'm not going to spoil it. Interesting tidbits on the fairness doctrine. Great stuff. How best to communicate science to the public. Interesting discussion on who in America supports evolution the least and how best to convey it to the public.

The "controversy" of climate change. A good discussion. The five-prong propaganda strategy to manipulate democracy. The dangers of anti-intellectual stances. Many examples of countries that took the wring, authoritarian approach. The stance that science must take to win over the skeptics. Sound economic stance, "The evidence shows that successful regulations that define a fair trade in the commons do not reduce freedom, they increase it.

Economic externalities defined and examples provided. How other countries are beating us in implementing sound economic practices based on sound science. The failure of "abstinence works" stance. Find out the number one predictor of students performance in science Links worked. Good notes section. Negatives: 1. An uneven book.

Some chapters are vastly superior to others. The strong tone might set some people off. Calling some Republican lawmakers un-American will not win over folks on the wrong side of the ledger. There are better books that discuss the strengths and practices of science. He is eager to find thee, and knows not thy place. He desires to seek thee, and does not know thy face.

Lord, thou art my God, and thou art my Lord, and never have I seen thee. It is thou that hast made me, and hast made me anew, and hast bestowed upon me all the blessings I enjoy; and not yet do I know thee. Finally, I was created to see thee, and not yet have I done that for which I was made. O wretched lot of man, when he hath lost that for which he was made! O hard and terrible fate! Alas, what has he lost, and what has he found? What has departed, and what remains?

He has lost the blessedness for which he was made, and has found the misery for which he was not made.

The Wise Guy and the Fool

That has departed without which nothing is happy, and that remains which, in itself, is only miserable. Man once did eat the bread of angels, for which he hungers now; he eateth now the bread of sorrows, of which he knew not then. He choked with satiety, we sigh with hunger. He abounded, we beg. He possessed in happiness, and miserably forsook his possession; we suffer want in unhappiness, Edition: current; Page: [ 5 ] and feel a miserable longing, and alas!

Why did he not keep for us, when he could so easily, that whose lack we should feel so heavily? Why did he shut us away from the light, and cover us over with darkness? With what purpose did he rob us of life, and inflict death upon us? Wretches that we are, whence have we been driven out; whither are we driven on? Whence hurled? Whither consigned to ruin?

From a native country into exile, from the vision of God into our present blindness, from the joy of immortality into the bitterness and horror of death. Miserable exchange of how great a good, for how great an evil! Heavy loss, heavy grief heavy all our fate! But alas! What have I undertaken? What have I accomplished? Whither was I striving? How far have I come? To what did I as pire? Amid what thoughts am I sighing? I sought blessings, and lo! I strove toward God, and I stumbled on myself.

I sought calm in privacy, and I found tribulation and grief, in my inmost thoughts. I wished to smile in the joy of my mind, and I am compelled to frown by the sorrow of my heart. Gladness was hoped for, and lo! And thou too, O Lord, how long?

Fool Me Good

How long, O Lord, dost thou forget us; how long dost thou turn thy face from us? When wilt thou look upon us, and hear us? When wilt thou enlighten our eyes, and show us thy face? When wilt thou restore thyself to us? Look upon us, Lord; hear us, enlighten us, reveal thyself to us. Restore thyself to us, that it may Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] be well with us,—thyself, without whom it is so ill with us.

Pity our toilings and strivings toward thee, since we can do nothing without thee. Thou dost invite us; do thou help us. I beseech thee, O Lord, that I may not lose hope in sighs, but may breathe anew in hope. Lord, my heart is made bitter by its desolation; sweeten thou it, I beseech thee, with thy consolation. Lord, in hunger I began to seek thee; I beseech thee that I may not cease to hunger for thee. In hunger I have come to thee; let me not go unfed. I have come in poverty to the Rich, in misery to the Compassionate; let me not return empty and despised.

And if, before I eat, I sigh, grant, even after sighs, that which I may eat. Lord, I am bowed down and can only look downward; raise me up that I may look upward. My iniquities have gone over my head; they overwhelm me; and, like a heavy load, they weigh me down. Free me from them; unburden me, that the pit of iniquities may not close over me. Be it mine to look up to thy light, even from afar, even from the depths. Teach me to seek thee, and reveal thyself to me, when I seek thee, for I cannot seek thee, except thou teach me, nor find thee, except thou reveal thyself.

Let me seek thee in longing, let me long for thee in seeking; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding. Lord, I acknowledge and I thank thee that thou hast created me in this thine image, in order that I may be mindful of thee, may conceive of thee, and love thee; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and obscured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except thou renew it, and create it anew. I do not endeavor, O Lord, to penetrate thy sublimity, for in no wise do I Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree thy truth, which my heart believes and loves.

For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe,—that unless I believed, I should not understand. Truly there is a God, although the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. And so, Lord, do thou, who dost give understanding to faith, give me, so far as thou knowest it to be profitable, to understand that thou art as we believe; and that thou art that which we believe.

And, indeed, we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. Or is there no such nature, since the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God? Psalms xiv. But, at any rate, this very fool, when he hears of this being of which I speak—a being than which nothing greater can be conceived—understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding; although he does not understand it to exist. For, it is one thing for an object to be in the understanding, and another to understand that the object exists.

When a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform, he has it in his understanding, but he does not yet understand it to be, because he has not yet performed it. But after he has made the painting, he both has it in his understanding, and he understands that it exists, because he has made it. Hence, even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding, at least, than which nothing greater can be conceived.

For, when he hears of this, he understands it. And whatever is understood, exists in the understanding. And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For, suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater. Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, than which a greater can be conceived.

But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality. God cannot be conceived not to exist. And it assuredly exists so truly, that it cannot be conceived not to exist.

For, it is possible to conceive of a being which cannot be conceived not to exist; and this is greater than one which can be conceived not to exist. Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. But this is an irreconcilable contradiction. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even Edition: current; Page: [ 9 ] be conceived not to exist; and this being thou art, O Lord, our God.

So truly, therefore, dost thou exist, O Lord, my God, that thou canst not be conceived not to exist; and rightly. For, if a mind could conceive of a being better than thee, the creature would rise above the Creator; and this is most absurd. And, indeed, whatever else there is, except thee alone, can be conceived not to exist. To thee alone, therefore, it belongs to exist more truly than all other beings, and hence in a higher degree than all others.

For, whatever else exists does not exist so truly, and hence in a less degree it belongs to it to exist. Why, then, has the fool said in his heart, there is no God Psalms xiv. Why, except that he is dull and a fool?

How the fool has said in his heart what cannot be conceived. But how has the fool said in his heart what he could not conceive; or how is it that he could not conceive what he said in his heart? But, if really, nay, since really, he both conceived, because he said in his heart; and did not say in his heart, because he could not conceive; there is more than one way in which a thing is said in the heart or conceived.

For, in one sense, an object is conceived, Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] when the word signifying it is conceived; and in another, when the very entity, which the object is, is understood. In the former sense, then, God can be conceived not to exist; but in the latter, not at all. For no one who understands what fire and water are can conceive fire to be water, in accordance with the nature of the facts themselves, although this is possible according to the words.

So, then, no one who understands what God is can conceive that God does not exist; although he says these words in his heart, either without any. For, God is that than which a greater cannot be conceived. And he who thoroughly understands this, assuredly understands that this being so truly exists, that not even in concept can it be non-existent.

Therefore, he who understands that God so exists, cannot conceive that he does not exist. I thank thee, gracious Lord, I thank thee; because what I formerly believed by thy bounty, I now so understand by thine illumination, that if I were unwilling to believe that thou dost exist, I should not be able not to understand this to be true.

God is whatever it is better to be than not to be; and he, as the only self-existent being, creates all things from nothing. What art thou, then, Lord God, than whom nothing greater can be conceived? But what art thou, except that which, as the highest of all beings, alone exists through itself, and creates all other things from nothing? For, whatever is not this is less than a thing which can be conceived of. But this cannot be conceived Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] of thee.

What good, therefore, does the supreme Good lack, through which every good is? Therefore, thou art just, truthful, blessed, and whatever it is better to be than not to be. For it is better to be just than not just; better to be blessed than not blessed.

How God is sensible sensibilis although he is not a body —God is sensible, omnipotent, compassionate, passionless; for it is better to be these than not be He who in any way knows, is not improperly said in some sort to feel. But, although it is better for thee to be sensible, omnipotent, compassionate, passionless, than not to be these things; how art thou sensible, if thou art not a body; or omnipotent, if thou hast not all powers; or at once compassionate and passionless?

For, if only corporeal things are sensible, since the senses encompass a body and are in a body, how art thou sensible, although thou art not a body, but a supreme Spirit, who is superior to body? But, if feeling is only cognition, or for the sake of cognition,—for he who feels obtains knowledge in accordance with the proper functions of his senses; as through sight, of colors; through taste, of flavors,—whatever in any way cognises is not inappropriately said, in some sort, to feel.

Therefore, O Lord, although thou art not a body, yet thou art truly sensible in the highest degree in respect of this, that thou dost cognise all things in the highest degree; and not as an animal cognises, through a corporeal sense. How he is omnipotent, although there are many things of which he is not capable. God can do nothing by virtue of impotence, and nothing has power against him.

But how art thou omnipotent, if thou art not capable of all things? Or, if thou canst not be corrupted, and canst not lie, nor make what is true, false—as, for example, if thou shouldst make what has been done not to have been done, and the like—how art thou capable of all things? Or else to be capable of these things is not power, but impotence.


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For, he who is capable of these things is capable of what is not for his good, and of what he ought not to do; and the more capable of them he is, the more power have adversity and perversity against him; and the less has he himself against these. He, then, who is thus capable is so not by power, but by impotence.

For, he is not said to be able because he is able of himself, but because his impotence gives something else power over him. So, then, when one is said to have the power of Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] doing or experiencing what is not for his good, or what he ought not to do, impotence is understood in the word power. For, the more he possesses this power, the more powerful are adversity and perversity against him, and the more powerless is he against them. Therefore, O Lord, our God, the more truly art thou omnipotent, since thou art capable of nothing through impotence, and nothing has power against thee.

How he is compassionate and passionless God is compassionate, in terms of our experience, because we experience the effect of compassion. God is not compassionate, in terms of his own being, because he does not experience the feeling affectus of compassion. But how art thou compassionate, and, at the same time, passionless? For, if thou art passionless, thou dost not feel sympathy; and if thou dost not feel sympathy, thy heart is not wretched from sympathy for the wretched; but this it is to be compassionate.

But if thou art not compassionate, whence cometh so great consolation to the wretched? How, then, art thou compassionate and not compassionate, O Lord, unless because thou art compassionate in terms of our experience, and not compassionate in terms of thy being.

Truly, thou art so in terms of our experience, but thou art not so in terms of thine own. For, when thou beholdest us in our wretchedness, we experience the effect of compassion, but thou dost not experience the feeling. Therefore, thou art both compassionate, because thou dost save the wretched, and spare those Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] who sin against thee; and not compassionate, because thou art affected by no sympathy for wretchedness.

How the all-just and supremely just God spares the wicked, and justly pities the wicked He is better who is good to the righteous and the wicked than he who is good to the righteous alone. Although God is supremely just, the source of his compassion is hidden. God is supremely compassionate, because he is supremely just He saveth the just, because justice goes with them, he frees sinners by the authority of justice. God spares the wicked out of justice; for it is just that God, than whom none is better or more powerful, should be good even to the wicked, and should make the wicked good If God ought not to pity, he pities unjustly.

But this it is impious to suppose. Therefore, God justly pities. But how dost thou spare the wicked, if thou art all just and supremely just? For how, being all just and supremely just, dost thou aught that is not just? Or, what justice is that to give him who merits eternal death everlasting life? How, then, gracious Lord, good to the righteous and the wicked, canst thou save the wicked, if this is not just, and thou dost not aught that is not just?

Or, since thy goodness is incomprehensible, is this hidden in the unapproachable light wherein thou dwellest? Truly, in the deepest and most secret parts of thy goodness is hidden the fountain whence the stream of thy compassion flows. For thou art all just and supremely just, yet thou art kind even to the wicked, even because thou art all supremely good.

For thou wouldst be less good if thou wert not kind to any wicked being. For, he who is good, both to the righteous and the wicked, is better than he who is good to the wicked alone; Edition: current; Page: [ 15 ] and he who is good to the wicked, both by punishing and sparing them, is better than he who is good by punishing them alone. Therefore, thou art compassionate, because thou art all supremely good. And, although it appears why thou dost reward the good with goods and the evil with evils; yet this, at least, is most wonderful, why thou, the all and supremely just, who lackest nothing, bestowest goods on the wicked and on those who are guilty toward thee.

The depth of thy goodness, O God! The source of thy compassion appears, and yet is not clearly seen! We see whence the river flows, but the spring whence it arises is not seen. For, it is from the abundance of thy goodness that thou art good to those who sin against thee; and in the depth of thy goodness is hidden the reason for this kindness.

For, although thou dost reward the good with goods and the evil with evils, out of goodness, yet this the concept of justice seems to demand. But, when thou dost bestow goods on the evil, and it is known that the supremely Good hath willed to do this, we wonder why the supremely Just has been able to will this.

O compassion, from what abundant sweetness and what sweet abundance dost thou well forth to us! O boundless goodness of God, how passionately should sinners love thee! For thou savest the just, because justice goeth with them; but sinners thou dost free by the authority of justice. Those by the help of their deserts; these, although their deserts oppose. Those by acknowledging the goods thou hast granted; these by pardoning the evils thou hatest.

O boundless goodness, which dost so exceed all understanding, let that compassion come upon me, which proceeds Edition: current; Page: [ 16 ] from thy so great abundance! Let it flow upon me, for it wells forth from thee. Spare, in mercy; avenge not, in justice.

For, though it is hard to understand how thy compassion is not inconsistent with thy justice; yet we must believe that it does not oppose justice at all, because it flows from goodness, which is no goodness without justice; nay, that it is in true harmony with justice. For, if thou art compassionate only because thou art supremely good, and supremely good only because thou art supremely just, truly thou art compassionate even because thou art supremely just. Help me, just and compassionate God, whose light I seek; help me to understand what I say.

Truly, then, thou art compassionate even because thou art just. Is, then, thy compassion born of thy justice? And dost thou spare the wicked, therefore, out of justice? If this is true, my Lord, if this is true, teach me how it is. Is it because it is just, that thou shouldst be so good that thou canst not be conceived better; and that thou shouldst work so powerfully that thou canst not be conceived more powerful? For what can be more just than this? Assuredly it could not be that thou shouldst be good only by requiting retribuendo and not by sparing, and that thou shouldst make good only those who are not good, and not the wicked also.

In this way, therefore, it is just that thou shouldst spare the wicked, and make good souls of evil. Finally, what is not done justly ought not to be done; and what ought not to be done is done unjustly. If, then, thou dost not justly pity the wicked, thou oughtest not to pity them. And, if thou oughtest not to pity them, thou pityest them unjustly. And if Edition: current; Page: [ 17 ] it is impious to suppose this, it is right to believe that thou justly pityest the wicked.

How he justly punishes and justly spares the wicked. But it is also just that thou shouldst punish the wicked. For what is more just than that the good should receive goods, and the evil, evils? How, then, is it just that thou shouldst punish the wicked, and, at the same time, spare the wicked? Or, in one way, dost thou justly punish, and, in another, justly spare them? For, when thou punishest the wicked, it is just, because it is consistent with their deserts; and when, on the other hand, thou sparest the wicked, it is just, not because it is compatible with their deserts, but because it is compatible with thy goodness.

For, in sparing the wicked, thou art as just, according to thy nature, but not according to ours, as thou art compassionate, according to our nature, and not according to thine; seeing that, as in saving us, whom it would be just for thee to destroy, thou art compassionate, not because thou feelest an affection affectum , but because we feel the effect effectum ; so thou art just, not because thou requitest us as we deserve, but because thou dost that which becomes thee as the supremely good Being.

In this way, therefore, without contradiction thou dost justly punish and justly spare. How all the ways of God are compassion and truth; and yet God is just in all his ways —We cannot comprehend why, of the wicked, he saves these rather than those, through his supreme goodness; and condemns those rather than these, through his supreme justice. But, is there any reason why it is not also just, according to thy nature, O Lord, that thou shouldst punish the wicked?

Surely it is just that thou shouldst be so just that thou canst not be conceived more just; and this thou wouldst in no wise be if thou didst only render goods to the good, and not evils to the evil For, he who requiteth both good and evil according to their deserts is more just than he who so requites the good alone.

It is, therefore, just, according to thy nature, O just and gracious God, both when thou dost punish and when thou sparest. Truly, then, all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth Psalms xxv. And assuredly without inconsistency: For, it is not just that those whom thou dost will to punish should be saved, and that those whom thou dost will to spare should be condemned. For that alone is just which thou dost will; and that alone unjust which thou dost not will. So, then, thy compassion is born of thy justice. For it is just that thou shouldst be so good that thou art good in sparing also; and this may be the reason why the supremely Just can will goods for the veil.

But if it can be comprehended in any way why thou canst will to save the wicked, yet by no consideration can we comprehend why, of those who are Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] alike wicked, thou savest some rather than others, through supreme goodness; and why thou dost condemn the latter rather than the former, through supreme justice. So, then, thou art truly sensible sensibilis , omnipotent, compassionate, and passionless, as thou art living, wise, good, blessed, eternal: and whatever it is better to be than not to be.

But undoubtedly, whatever thou art, thou art through nothing else than thyself. Therefore, thou art the very life whereby thou livest; and the wisdom wherewith thou art wise; and the very goodness whereby thou art good to the righteous and the wicked; and so of other like attributes. How he alone is uncircumscribed and eternal, although other spirits are uncircumscribed and eternal —No place and time contain God.

But he is himself everywhere and always He alone not only does not cease to be, but also does not begin to be. But everything that is in any way bounded by place or time is less than that which no law of place or time limits. Since, then, nothing is greater than thou, no place or time contains thee; but thou art everywhere and always. And since this can be said of thee alone, thou alone art uncircumscribed and eternal. How is it, then, that other spirits also are said to be uncircumscribed and eternal?

Assuredly thou art alone eternal; for thou alone among all beings not only dost not cease to be, but also dost not begin to be. But how art thou alone uncircumscribed? Is it that a created spirit, when compared with thee, is circumscribed, but when compared with matter, uncircumscribed?

For altogether circumscribed is that which, when it is wholly in one place, cannot at the same time be in another. And this is seen to be true of corporeal things alone. But uncircumscribed is that which is, as a whole, at the same time everywhere. And this is understood to be true of thee alone. But circumscribed, and, at the same time, uncircumscribed is that which, when it is anywhere as a whole, can at the same time be somewhere else as a whole, and yet not everywhere. And this is recognised as true of created spirits.

For, if the soul were not as a whole in the separate members of the body, it would not feel as a whole in the separate members. Therefore, thou, Lord, art peculiarly uncircumscribed and eternal; and yet other spirits also are uncircumscribed and eternal. Hast thou found what thou didst seek, my soul?

Thou didst seek God. Thou hast found him to be a being which is the highest of all beings, a being than which nothing better can be conceived; that this being is life itself, light, wisdom, goodness, eternal blessedness and blessed eternity; and that it is everywhere and always. For, if thou hast not found thy God, how is he this being which thou hast found, and which thou hast conceived him to be, with so certain truth and so true certainty?

But, if thou hast found him, why is it that thou dost not feel thou hast found him? Why, O Lord, our God, does not my soul feel thee, if it hath found thee? Or, has it not found him whom it found to be light and truth?


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For how did it understand this, except by seeing light and truth? Or, could it understand anything at all of thee, except through thy light and thy truth? Hence, if it has seen light and truth, it has seen thee; if it has not seen thee, it has not seen light and truth. Or, is what it has seen both light and truth; and still it has not yet seen thee, because it has seen thee only in part, but has not seen thee as thou art?

Lord my God, my creator and renewer, speak to the desire of my soul, what thou art other than it hath seen, that it may clearly see what it desires. It strains to see thee more; and sees nothing beyond this which it hath seen, except darkness. Nay, it does not see darkness, of which there is none in thee; but it sees that it cannot see farther, because of its own darkness. Why is this, Lord, why is this? Is the eye of the soul darkened by its infirmity, or dazzled by thy glory? Surely it is both darkened in itself, and dazzled by thee. Doubtless it is both obscured by its own insignificance, and overwhelmed by thy infinity.

Truly, it is both contracted by its own narrowness and overcome by thy greatness. For how great is that light from which shines every truth that gives light to the rational mind? How great is that truth in which is everything that is Edition: current; Page: [ 22 ] true, and outside which is only nothngness and the false?

How boundless is the truth which sees at one glance whatsoever has been made and by whom, and through whom, and how it has been made from nothing? What purity, what certainty, what splendor where it is? Assuredly more than a creature can conceive. Therefore, O Lord, thou art not only that than which a greater cannot be conceived, but thou art a being greater than can be conceived. For, since it can be conceived that there is such a being, if thou art not this very being, a greater than thou can be conceived.

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But this is impossible. Truly, O Lord, this is the unapproachable light in which thou dwellest; for truly there is nothing else which can penetrate this light, that it may see thee there. Truly, I see it not, because it is too bright for me. And yet, whatsoever I see, I see through it, as the weak eye sees what it sees through the light of the sun, which in the sun itself it cannot look upon. My understanding cannot reach that light, for it shines too bright.

It does not comprehend it, nor does the eye of my soul endure to gaze upon it long. It is dazzled by the brightness, it is overcome by the greatness, it is overwhelmed by the infinity, it is dazed by the largeness, of the light. O supreme and unapproachable light! O whole Edition: current; Page: [ 23 ] and blessed truth, how far art thou from me, who am so near to thee! How far removed art thou from my vision, though I am so near to thine! Everywhere thou art wholly present, and I see thee not.

In thee I move, and in thee I have my being; and I cannot come to thee. Thou art within me, and about me, and I feel thee not. In God is harmony, fragrance, sweetness, pleasantness to the touch, beauty, after his ineffable manner. Still thou art hidden, O Lord, from my soul in thy light and thy blessedness; and therefore my soul still walks in its darkness and wretchedness.

For it looks, and does not see thy beauty. It hearkens, and does not hear thy harmony.

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