Monday, June 02, 2014

Heaven, hell, purgatory, and "Star Trek"


  • States of being and "Star Trek." Rewatched the original-series episode "The Tholian Web," which was probably some people's introduction to the idea that there are many dimensions of being sharing the same space but normally invisible to each other, so heaven, hell, purgatory (to pray for the dead without belief in an intermediate state would be... illogical), and maybe limbo may be right here. Why not? And who first thought of that? I first consciously came across it reading Fr. Seraphim (Rose) in The Soul After Death many years ago. People trapped in "interphase" sounds like the plot of "The Ghost Whisperer." If I recall rightly, Fr. Seraphim would have thought that was sound; people can stick around here for a while before going to the particular judgement; Russian folk piety says the time for that is a few days after death, and the particular judgement ends around 40 days (a biblical number) after death. (The aerial toll-houses are Russian folklore about the particular judgement.)
  • Who was Malachi Martin? Or rather, what was he really? I'm a fan. I'd say a priest turned liberal who was smart enough to have buyer's remorse about the liberalism so he spent the rest of his life trying to defend the faith. In the 1980s his work threw the rudder hard right, to his lasting credit.
  • Calvin Coolidge: Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. The politics of envy (a kind of greed) and well-meaning Christians distorting the Magnificat for example are wrong. In economics, for example, if you try to force equal outcomes, there's no incentive to have better products and services, and you end up with fewer jobs.
  • From Takimag: When eggheads go sour. Many governments, not just those of undeveloped countries, have made the mistake of thinking that if rich societies are educated, educated societies must be rich, and the more educated they are the richer they will be. They have therefore expanded, more or less by fiat, the numbers of the educated in advance of the expansion of the economy in the hope that the latter will follow, as the night the day. This is a kind of magical thinking. Another manifestation of such thinking in the Third World is a fondness for skyscrapers even where the electric supply is unreliable and where, therefore, no less suitable style of architecture could be imagined. If skyscrapers are modern, modernity is skyscrapers; and therefore if we in a backward society build some or enough of them, we shall have caught up. Like the cargo cults: not understanding cause and effect.
  • RIP Ann B. Davis. The 88-year-old "Brady Bunch" star fell at home. Interesting lady. Whether she was single by choice or not, she believed in God and tried to follow him. I have no idea what her views were other than she was, I'm fairly sure, an Episcopalian and at one point part of a religious community (low-church; she wasn't a nun per se). Another fact, from Barry "Greg Brady" Williams (his as-told-to autobio's a fun read): she didn't know how to cook.
  • Nine out of 10 people can't pronounce this entire poem.

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