Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Faults in Old Books, Faults in Us

May 17th, 2017 by G.

Image result for stevenson prince otto

I’m having the time of my life reading old middlebrow bestsellers. Very old. The complete works of Sir. Walter Scott sell for next to nothing on the kindle, and so do the complete works of Robert Louis Stevenson. I switch back and forth.

Old books sometimes show the faults of our civilization clearer than new books do, because in old books they wear a different skin. They are fresher then, and less simmered in.

RLS’ Catriona and Prince Otto shows why Victorians, in their ideal form, needed a good smack. And us too.

Let’s take Prince Otto, for instance. He and his wife have let themselves grow apart for a lot of silly reasons all mixed up with overly sugared notions duty and selflessness. It is apparently wrong to expect love and affection from one’s spouse. Then their lives get upset and they are thrown together, and both are hungry for love. But neither will reach out for it. Because they are lad-de-dah selfless. It certainly would not do to constrain anyone else at all by making one’s own wishes known.

Blech. It was like reading a Russian novel.*

*In RLS’ defense, he is not Russian, so he keeps battering his characters until they break through their unholy selflessness to themselves.

It reminded me of C.S. Lewis imagined family where everybody ends up trying to out-defer each other and no one at all gets a blessed thing they want. Which is not so imaginary at all. There’s the episode of the family near Amarillo that drove to get icecream that is famous for it.  We’ve all seen it.

Young men these days, some of them, think they need be perfect bowing, scraping lackeys to a girl to be a gentleman to her. Surely she’ll love me, they think, if I self-abnegate until there is no self around for her to love. Man, have a little blood. The Game guys are gross degenerates and their memeplex is an overreaction, but this is what they are overreacting to.

I am religious, but not spiritual. I hate all that fleshless sanctity. Give me the Spirit that dwells in earthly tabernacles.

Sayeth the Lord, “love they neighbor as thyself.” Those last two words are not a concession to human weakness. Real loves are that way. The God of love knows. His love and sacrifice are greater than any, but he is not a cipher on his throne. His love matters and his sacrifice is real, because he has power and weight, because his will is made known, because he is not mocked.

He taught us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread.” The prayer he taught us is not an inferior prayer. Earthly wants are wonderful. He incarnated us so we could have them. They are part of the divine nature. To want is earthly. What is earthly is divine. God wants.

We associate desire with sin. That is wrong. Sinners do not want too much. Sinners want too little. The cad–the Casanova–is no different than the rest of us in wanting female bodies and the act of the sexes. What he doesn’t want enough is respect and affection and children and home. Me, I want it all. I want marriage and the marriage bed.  I discipline my wants for their greater fulfillment.

They say the problem with greed is that you can never have enough. I say that is the only good thing about greed. I want it all.

Embrace the gospel like a bandit, grabbing blessings with both hands.

Image result for ali baba treasure


Comments (9)
Filed under: We transcend your bourgeois categories | No Tag
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May 17th, 2017 06:06:31

Jacob G.
May 17, 2017

You channeling GK Chesterton today?

May 17, 2017

Very good. I like to think of greed like a monkey trap, the kind where the monkey reaches in to get the bait, and when the hunter arrives, the monkey can’t let go of the bait. It’s not like it’s a bad thing for the monkey to want to eat.

The backlash against the “bowing, scraping lackeys” view of gentlemanliness is pretty serious, and well deserved. I liked this CSLewisDoodle on the subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBT9LasyC3E
“The Necessity of Chivalry”.

May 17, 2017

“… a C.S. Lewis essay that was published on the 17th August 1940 during the heat and roar of the Battle of Britain”

Fyodor Dostoyevski
May 17, 2017

“Blech. It was like reading a Russian novel.*”

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Pecos Bill
May 17, 2017

You betcher.

May 17, 2017

“We associate desire with sin.”

Not desire per se but disordered desire. Of course it’s good to desire good and in a good way.

May 19, 2017

First time reading Chesterton’s Father Brown. You just want to stay there with him.

Ivan Wolfe
May 21, 2017

Father Brown’s tales are amazing.
However, a warning about the recent BBC Father Brown mystery series (available on Netflix). While the actor does a good job as Father Brown (he is the Weasley dad from the Potter movies), the BBC seems to have said “What if Father Brown was a progressive sort of priest in the 1950s and his cases dealt with LGBT people (whom he will accept) and feminism (which he will embrace)?”

May 22, 2017

After the Hobbit movies I’ll never let another reptile ruin my favourite books.

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