Essays in Idleness


Month: June, 2013

Gallimaufry & anamnesis

“Liberalism is an empty parking lot. Conservatism is a garden full of weeds.” “The problem with ‘I think, therefore I am’ is that it can be true only for God. When man appropriates this to himself he implicitly claims to be God.” “All causes except the first uncaused cause are effects. This is so because […]


We suffer, up here in the High Doganate, from moments of acute eco-mania. Perhaps we have confessed this before. We were having one just now on our balconata, as an ice cream truck that works Inner Parkdale came by, too early in the morning. Its repulsive jingle is endlessly repeated from a short & cranky […]

Quote for the day

Principia essentialia rerum sunt nobis ignota. … Or, as we might put it in English, “The essential principles of things are unknown to us.” The quote comes very early in the commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima, by Thomas Aquinas. The same or like point is made, passim, through the latter’s works, but I’d been looking […]

Saint John Baptist

Only 184 shopping days to Christmas, as we were reminded last night in the Eve of the Feast of Saint John Baptist. I love priestly drollness. That this other Nativity is celebrated at all; that it has been since the earliest times; that it was placed opposite in the year to Christmas, as it were […]

Urban vision

I am worried about the disposal problem presented by all this glass. It tends to blow out of the highrises from differential air pressure over time (rising suddenly inside over outside a building under certain storm conditions), & then smash when it lands. This will make the area formerly occupied by cities inconvenient & even […]

The last telegram

Telegraphy is as old as the hills, or not quite, but the use of hills to convey fire or other optical signals from one station to another, quickly over considerable distances, goes back to ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia. Reading Sir Aurel Stein’s wonderful archaeological memoirs as a boy, I recall my thrill at his description […]

The idleness of Saint Thomas

I have been reading that Angelic Doctor again, as part of my continuing Mediaeval binge — hunting hungrily for Thomistic advice on the nature of Beauty. Though large, & potentially vexing, this is not a subject on which most people consult Saint Thomas. One might almost say he writes as if there were only two […]

Ends & means

“We stand today at a crossroads. One path leads to despair & utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.” The quote is from Woody Allen, & was supplied by one of the commenters to my column yesterday over at Catholic Thing. It […]


We (my soul & I) are back in the High Doganate after our short wander. Dr Clarke’s book (see last post) proved worth the price of purchase, but her concluding scheme for re-archaizing our schools is disappointing: for it involves turning from, rather than towards classical Latin & Greek, & substituting Milton for Homer. Also: […]

Re-archaize now

I am off to places where the Internet does not glow, the next few days, & will return to the Greater Parkdale Area not until Tuesday night, Deo volente. Therefore remarks from the Commentariat must wait for approval & posting until then. To compensate, gentle readers will not be afflicted with new Essays, & those […]

The invention of comfort

Perhaps I am not an expert, on anything, but like a good journalist I compensate by having lots of opinions. Many of them are on oeconomic questions. It is part of our fate, as members of this species living on this planet, to participate in something called an oeconomy. The meaning of this word has […]