Thursday, November 26, 2015

Conrad, Leaning Towers and Thanksgiving

Interpreting a Hadith, passage from the Torah, a Papal Encyclical, a letter from the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, an opinion in any newspaper, and the products of academia have a lot in common. The pattern is well established, and it mostly represents a leaning tower of reason off the top of which an occasional bold soul attempts to take flight. If a person was to think of the analogy through time, one argument is that here in the west there are fewer and fewer of us trying to fly. And this argument goes on to suggest that fewer and fewer of us are trying to fly because we have less and less faith in our leaning tower.

Why, the careful reader might ask, does the tower have to lean. Conrad, the writer, who died in 1924, his Lord Jim out there in the East, had the idea that what some call the institution of society, what others rather feebly call civilization, others still will think of as culture, is little more than something like a thin layer of solid lava on top of a liquid magma. And the point about The Leaning Tower of Reason, is that should it lean too far, it will fall very quickly, it's little bricks all over the place, each one making no sense whatsoever. If it were up to a choice between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'd happily ban Christmas. Rock on Tommy, there's mash Potato and Chard in my future. 

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