Tag: morality

Convince us!

“Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is so far doing a public service. We should be grateful to him for attacking most unsparingly our most cherished opinions.” – John Stuart Mill, On Liberty   Does anybody stand for anything anymore? Or more accurately, does anybody stand for something that might be recognised as a moral vision…

Casting Off

“…the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves.” Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian I recently went to my local cinema here in Melbourne to see Ad…

The Pinnacle

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties. In form and moving, how express and admirable. In action how like an angel. In apprehension how like a god. The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No,…

Greater than, less than, equal to

The only part of the conduct of anyone for which he is amenable to society is that which concerns others. In the part that merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign. John Stuart Mill A celebrated individual is being interviewed about their triumphant life, their wealth,…

Up with this I shall not put!

In his brilliantly disturbing novella, The Testament of Mary (ostensibly about the mother of Christ but arguably about the inevitable unhappiness of mother-love), Colm Toibin articulates very well the dilemma of choosing between a righteous course of action and the more pressing demands of self-preservation: I watched in horror, but I did not move or make a sound. Nothing would…

In loco parentis

No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, For…

Demons

Evil does not exist ontologically. And that’s why it’s so powerful – because it’s so parasitic on our deepest desires – and why so oftentimes the most profound evils that are perpetrated are done in the name of the good. If God does not exist – at least the God we worship and Jesus Christ – then evil becomes far…

The sex test

Sex is a problem because it would seem that in that act there is complete absence of the self. In that moment you are happy because there is the cessation of self-consciousness, of the ‘me’; and desiring more of it – more of the abnegation of the self in which there is complete happiness, without the past or the future,…

Look to the stars

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star at its rising.                                                                                                          Matthew 2:1-2 I have always loved Christmas. Loved it. Is it the mischievous child’s grace period? Amongst other things, that was what it symbolised to me growing up. It felt…

Say it ain’t so, Lance.

I have been thinking of the famous baseball story, possibly fabricated, certainly embellished, that tells of a wide-eyed young fan asking his sporting hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, to deny his involvement in a conspiracy that had the Chicago White Sox throw the 1919 World Series. The breathless waif tugs at Jackson’s jacket as he leaves the courthouse where he has…