Living with a Mind

Gone is the season of our spaceship. About time too, but the apartment is no longer magically full of gurgles that wake one in the interstellar distances of night. The heat guys came, they realized things ought to be done, things were done. To paraphrase Francis Schaeffer the heat is there, but it is silent.

To change the subject, Roger Scruton has an essay in First Things about living with a mind. I walked by the display of new periodicals, so full of inanities and inconsequential enormities, and First Things was hidden from view. I wasn’t going to look because I had just leafed through the last one and nothing drew me. Reno is no Neuhaus. Then I saw the name of one who is greater. In the article, Scruton took it to the pointlessness of journals too.

I have to read a book that quotes John Webster who apparently believes reason was created. I don’t know if that nominalist also believes reason fell and is being redeemed, but the authors of this unimpressive book seem so to think. I spent the morning forcing myself to pay attention to anything they write about after that nonsense, to try to write about their book without savage fury or nihilistic irony, and then I got to the Scruton. Living with a mind!

What solace! And how fortunate we are still to have living examples of persons who live with a mind, like Roger Scruton. I think of the ETS down in Atlanta—blah, blah, blah—and wonder if you manage to pool all the real understanding they have, and more importantly to strain out all the nonsense, will you come near to having anything remotely like our Roger Scruton? If you have a complete collection of JETS you could sell it all, and with the $2.00 it might be worth purchase Roger Scruton’s essay on living with a mind and you would come out far ahead.

It is a great line to run into, isn’t it? Living with a mind. Sane, interesting, understanding, serious, luminous, clear, something a Renaissance Humanist would do, a real human being, not self-congratulatory bafflegab perfectly formatted and with a solemnly calculated amount of footnotes and difficult words, and, to top it all, an unending parade of unreal blurbs. Blurb bloat; bah! Living with a mind, though, ah! A positive moment, along with the silencing of the heat, in a day of dangerously mounting scorn for all contemporary academic achievement almost everywhere, especially among evangelicals. I’m going to become an Arminian, I think, because the epithet reformed now deserves so much scorn.

I was told that the epithet Platonist was hurled at Arminians in the 17th century, so there’s another reason for me to bail on Calvinism. I think that’s what I’m going to try to explore next semester: Platonists and Arminians of the 17th century. For now, however, I put it down and with seriousness and joy continue my unending quest to become a writer of science fiction, since I can.


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