LOVE THE RIGHT THINGS
do love the right things
avoid loving the wrong things
love good zealously
LOVE THE RIGHT THINGS
do love the right things
avoid loving the wrong things
love good zealously
Trump on Hillary (YouTube)
He liked her.
Twitter on Hilary (Twitter)
He liked her.
St. Anselm lived from approximately 1033 to 1109. He was an Italian prelate, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the founder of Scholasticism (which is defined by the Concise Columbia Encyclopedia as the “philosophy and theology of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages”). In addition, he originated the ontological argument for the existence of God.
The ontological argument may perhaps best be described as a group of arguments, all of which claim to derive the existence of God from an analysis of the concept of God. (“Ontology” is concerned with the study of being.) Many philosophers, including René Descartes (1596-1650) and the 20th-century philosopher Norman Malcolm, have written versions of the ontological argument. Whether the ontological argument is valid is still being hotly debated today.
St. Anselm writes down the ontological argument in his Proslogion. He has one version of the argument in Chapter 2, and a second version in Chapter 3. We will examine these arguments separately.
The First Argument
St. Anselm begins this argument by stating what it is that we understand God to be:
And, indeed, we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.
This definition is understood by all, even atheists, whom St. Anselm calls fools:
But, at any rate, this very fool, when he hears of this being of which I speak — a being than which nothing greater can be conceived — understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding; although he does not understand it to exist.
This understanding of God does exist, since both the believer and the atheist understand that this is what God is. However, we still need to discover whether God exists in reality or whether God exists only in the understanding.
To clarify the two kinds of existence, St. Anselm uses as an example a conception of a painting and a real painting:
For it is one thing for an object to be in the understanding, and another to understand that the object exists. When a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform, he has it in his understanding, but he does not yet understand it to be, because he has not yet performed it. But after he has made the painting, he both has it in his understanding, and he understands that it exists, because he has made it.
The atheist would say that a conception of God exists in the understanding; that is, even an atheist understands that God is “a being than which nothing greater can be conceived.” However, an atheist would deny that God exists as an actual being. (Using the Latin phrases, an atheist would say that the conception of God exists in intellectubut that God does not exist in re.)
So far, we have established the existence of one thing: God as “a being than which nothing greater can be conceived” exists in the understanding. This is something to which both the believer and the atheist give assent. St. Anselm writes:
Hence, even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding, at least, than which nothing greater can be conceived. For, when he hears of this, he understands it. And whatever is understood, exists in the understanding.
St. Anselm will examine the consequences of this fact: the fact that a particular conception of God exists in the understanding of both the believer and the atheist. St. Anselm comes to his conclusion that God exists both in the understanding and in reality by the use of an indirect argument. He shows that denying what he wishes to prove leads to an absurdity.
St. Anselm’s indirect argument starts with a premise that he has already established: Our conception of God is of a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. He also has showed that this conception of God exists in the understanding.
Next, St. Anselm examines the following statement: “A being than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in the understanding alone and not in reality.” (This statement denies what St. Anselm wishes to prove; St. Anselm wishes to prove that “a being than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in reality.”) On examining this assumption, St. Anselm sees that it leads to an absurdity. If the assumption is true, then this conception that exists in the understanding alone would be greater than the same conception that exists bothin the understanding and in reality.
St. Anselm believes that something that exists in reality is greater than something that exists only in the understanding. Most of us would agree with this. We would much rather have a real $100 bill in our pocket than an imaginary $100 bill. We would also much rather have a real painting by Picasso hanging in our homes than an imaginary painting by Picasso.
In St. Anselm’s words,
And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For, suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater.
Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality.
The Second Argument
We can look at Chapter 3 of St. Anselm’s Proslogionas explaining further that than which nothing greater can be conceived. Apparently, St. Anselm believed that God has necessary existence (though he did not use those words), which means that God necessarily exists. According to St. Anselm and many other theologians, God has always existed and always will exist. In St. Anselm’s words:
And it [a being than which nothing greater can be conceived] exists so truly, that it cannot be conceived not to exist.
If we are thinking of “a being than which nothing greater can be conceived,” then we are thinking of a being whose nonexistence is impossible; in fact, we are thinking of a being whose nonexistence cannot be thought of. After all, if we think of a being whose nonexistence can be thought of, then we can conceive of a greater being — a being whose nonexistence cannot be thought of.
Gaunilo: “On Behalf of the Fool”
Gaunilo was a monk who was a contemporary of St. Anselm. Gaunilo read St. Anselm’s Proslogionand thought he detected an error in St. Anselm’s argument. To illustrate the error, Gaunilo used another argument that he believed had the same form as St. Anselm’s argument.
Gaunilo said to think of the most perfect island. Because the island is most perfect, it therefore must exist. Of course, Gaunilo believed that this argument is faulty. However, if Gaunilo’s argument is faulty, then St. Anselm’s argument is also faulty because — according to Gaunilo — it has the same form as Gaunilo’s argument.
However, we can ask if Gaunilo’s criticism is correct. St. Anselm replied in effect that God has necessary existence (though, as stated above, St. Anselm did not use those words). Only God — if God exists — has necessary existence. No island, no matter how perfect, has necessary existence.
We can also ask if the most perfect island is truly analogous to God. The most perfect island is the most perfect among things of the same kind. (The most perfect island is the most perfect among islands.) However, we don’t think of God as the greatest among things of the same kind. (The Judeo-Christian God is not the greatest among gods.) Therefore, the two arguments are not truly similar.
In conclusion, let me say that I leave it up to the reader to decide whether the ontological argument is a good argument.
Note: The quotations by St. Anselm that appear in this essay are from his Proslogion, translated by S. N. Deane.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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In 1907, opera singer Enrico Caruso needed to visit a doctor, but he did not want the media to find out about the visit, so he decided to visit the doctor incognito; therefore, Mr. Caruso used the name of his voice coach and accompanist, Richard Barthelemy. Following the examination, the doctor said, “All right, Mr. Caruso, I’ll get you well.” Surprised, Mr. Caruso asked, “You know me then, doctor?” The doctor smiled and replied, “Mr. Caruso, after years on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, do you present yourself here and expect to pass incognito? Why did you give me the name of your friend instead of your own? Don’t you know that doctors are held to professional secrecy?”
On April 19, 2005, George Lopez received a new kidney that was transplanted from his wife’s body into his. After the operation, he joked, “Some people say that my wife and I are joined at the hip, but we’re really joined at the kidneys!” His wife, Ann, denies that she is a hero because she gave one of her kidneys to her husband. Instead, she says that someone who gives a kidney to a person he or she does not even know is the real hero. By the way, Mr. Lopez, the star of the TV sitcom The George Lopez Show, is a very famous person. Even though he checked into the hospital under a pseudonym, Tom Ace, he was recognized. When someone called him by his pseudonym, the janitor said, “Hey, loco, that’s George Lopez.” Actually, Mr. Lopez himself was fooled by his own pseudonym. After the operation, the nurses were yelling, “Mr. Ace, wake up!” Mr. Lopez thought at first that they were yelling at someone else to wake up.
Critic Simon Barnes believes that the thrillers of Dick Francis are predictable, but that isn’t a problem because in addition to being predictable they are predictably good. In fact, they make perfect reading on a transatlantic flight from London to New York. Mr. Barnes writes, “Three bloody Marys and a new Dick Francis and you’re in New York before you know you’ve taken off.” By the way, Mr. Francis was a jockey before he became an author. Like all jockeys, he was frequently injured, fracturing his collarbone six times, breaking his nose five times, and fracturing his skull once. Mr. Francis remembers one particular accident: “A horse put his foot right through my face, slicing my nose open. I had 32 stitches from above my eye to the end of my nose. The doctor was delighted because he could show the inside of a nose to all his students.”
In the summer of 1987, opera tenor José Carreras discovered that he had leukemia. He underwent chemotherapy in Barcelona, where he sang arias as a way of timing how much longer the chemo sessions would last. The chemo was not completely effective, so he went to Seattle, Washington, where he had a bone marrow transplant. Lots of fans wrote him while he was in the hospital — he even received a letter addressed simply to “Tenor, Seattle.” His rival tenors, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, came through for him. Mr. Pavarotti sent him this telegram: “José, get well. Otherwise, I won’t have any competition.” Mr. Domingo frequently telephoned him and also flew to Seattle to visit him.
Maria was a 10-year-old Mexican girl who was badly hurt in a car accident and went into and stayed in a coma. At home, she stayed in the coma for seven months. Fortunately, on July 27, 1976, a stray cat came in through an open window and started licking Maria’s thumb. Maria’s fingers twitched — this was the most movement that Maria had made on her own since going into the coma. Maria’s mother prayed, Wake, up, Maria. Wake up, Maria. The cat stayed in Maria’s bedroom and kept licking her hand. On the eighth day after the cat had started licking her hand, Maria woke up. She recovered rapidly.
This is a story that country musician and author Kinky Friedman tells. Don Imus hosted a radio show on which his friend Mr. Friedman occasionally appeared. In June 2000 Mr. Imus was thrown by a horse and suffered severe injuries: 17 broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a broken clavicle. He was in an isolated area, and paramedics could not reach him for two hours. After recovering — slowly — Mr. Imus said on his radio show that the two hours he had spent waiting for the paramedics were the longest two hours of his life. A listener called in and said that the longest two hours of his life were whenever Mr. Imus’ show featured Kinky Friedman.
Actor Jeremy Piven caused an uproar on Broadway when he stopped acting in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, alleging mercury poisoning caused by eating too much fish. Mr. Mamet came up with a cutting criticism when he said about Mr. Piven, “My understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.” Actually, an arbitrator backed up Mr. Piven’s account, but that did not stop the criticism. The tabloid New York Post carried a story that said, “An arbitrator bought Jeremy Piven’s fish tale hook, line and sinker.”
In the summer of 1920, the parents of Dick King-Smith, the author of Babe: The Gallant Pig, met. Dick’s father was on crutches, the result of an injury in World War II, and he noticed a pretty, 18-year-old woman. Shortly afterward, she was confined to her room with a cold. He found out where she was staying, and he went there and stood in the sand of the beach. He waited until she appeared at a window, and then he used a crutch to write in the sand, “GET WELL SOON.”
Composers and lyricists sometimes work very hard. Brothers George and Ira Gershwin worked together on the musical Oh, Kay! George composed music, and Ira wrote lyrics. Unfortunately, Ira suffered an attack of appendicitis and had to stay for an extended time in a hospital (in the days before antibiotics). He kept begging to be released from the hospital, saying, “They’re waiting for me to finish the lyrics!”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce
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They hate to hurt alone.
has never known true love
the love that sticks
the love that lasts and matters
the love one calls home
is a shell, a human with no heart
rattling with skeleton song
no blood, no meat, no soul
takes their victims
first by kind hand and smile
sweetest words and declarations
drawing into spiked steel trap
that others speak the truth
they cannot tolerate sharing friends
they badger in violent threats
creates the drama
they swear to hate so much
they attack anyone
who call out the blatant lies
lives a tortured life
one that takes innocents down
as they fall from their mistakes
they hate to hurt alone
~ Emily C.
I think we all have experiences with bullies in some way. We have a malignant narcissistic bully leading this country…
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Niobe, in an agony of grief, which is in the marble tempered and idealized, tries to protect her youngest daughter from destruction. (Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence); Public Domain, via Wiki Commons
guilty of great pride
seven sons, seven daughters
all killed on same day
NOTE: Niobe was the mother of seven sons and seven daughters, which made her so proud that she said she was better than the goddess Leto, who had given birth to only two children: her son Apollo and her daughter Artemis. This made Apollo and Artemis angry, and so they killed all of Niobe’s children on the same day.
I would like to see my retellings of classic literature used in schools, so I give permission to the country of India (and all other countries) to buy one copy of this eBook and give copies to all students forever. I also give permission to the state of Texas (and all other states) to buy one copy of this eBook and give copies to all students forever. I also give permission to all teachers to buy one copy of this eBook and give copies to all students forever.
Teachers need not actually teach my retellings. Teachers are welcome to give students copies of my eBooks as background material. For example, if they are teaching Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, teachers are welcome to give students copies of my Virgil’s Aeneid: A Retelling in Prose and tell students, “Here’s another ancient epic you may want to read in your spare time.”
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