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As the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all Christian people, I have a special authority in the matter of proper comportment in conjugal relations. If anyone says otherwise let him be anathema. The Sacrament of Marriage was meant for a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Hetrosexual union, the perverted doctrine of heretics and apostates, reproduces the original sin unless carried out in a properly Christian manner, that is to say up the Bungie, or with the holy seed emitted onto a small cake, as practiced by an archaic but orthodox species of Antiochian monk. Homosexual men and women are the Son's holy angels, with whom he is well pleased.

Awesome, Episcopus Ecclesia Catholicae VI

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On Sunday, Emily and I drove out of DC on Route 50, aka New York Avenue. We intended to find a beach of some sort, but through a serious of coincidences and unexpected turns, we ended up in Annapolis instead.

The first thing we saw in Annapolis (besides the Naval Academy and some stores that were inside houses) was a buzzard eating a squirrel's intestines.


We headed towards the Waterfront/Downtown, where we saw an interesting soda machine.


After sitting on a dock for a while drinking Gatorade, I had to go to the bathroom pretty badly, so we sneaked into a Marriot.


Next thing you know, we saw some bricks.



Emily spent some time hanging out with Alex Haley.


Before we left, we stopped by Republican Party headquarters.

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Here’s pope dear ondine
Rona’s treated him so mean
She wants another scene
She wants to be
A human being

I must see this movie. The song itself haunts me as a seductive and devastating image of a passionately protected melancholy.

"The depressed narcissist mourns not an Object but the Thing. Let me posit the 'Thing' as the real that does not lend itself to signification ... Of this Nerval provides a dazzling metaphor that suggests an insistence without presence, a light without representation: the Thing is an imagined sun, bright and black at the same time."

-Julia Kristeva, Black Sun

Let me make an effort to render this statement a little more comprehensible, hopefully without butchering the context too badly (the context I'm referring to includes Freud, Lacan, and the rest of Kristeva's work, especially the book from which the quote is taken, Black Sun). The Thing is what you have to successfully jettison in order to define yourself as a self. When you're a baby, you are pretty much undifferentiated from the world around you. Later you come to identify with a self conception, but this comes at the price of mentally separating yourself from everything around you, including yourself, with a barrier of words. This leaves you feeling a tremendous loss, because now you're all alone and small and delimited. This sense of loss may be more or less successfully mourned and 'gotten over', and compensated for by a new facility to operate symbolically, i.e. with language. Or, it may be nourished and worshipped. This is what depressives tend to do with their *unspeakably* beautiful and frigid not-exactly-emptinesses. Their naive self is dead but they adore its corpse. That corpse is the Thing.

Kristeva/Nerval's sun reminds me of the spectral green light in the Great Gatsby, "the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us." I think it is fair to say that Gatsby was paralyzed at the site of a black sun. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

I really must read that book again. It has the same exalted grooming of a cherished wound, the impossible, fatal longing for the lost but unsacrificed Thing that one finds so powerfully expressed in Nico's music.

Pepper she’s having fun
She thinks she’s some men’s son
Her perfect loves don’t last
Her future died
In someone’s past
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The Girl from ipanema

keep it tight
have a good night

fabaliscious fabric

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To: Mom
From: Plotinus
Subject: Why I'm not a Catholic

It's a matter of doctrine.  I do not agree that the Father, Son, and
Holy spirit are 'of the same substance' or 'of the same essence' (the
greek word is homoousios).  This puts me on the wrong side of a very
important fourth century schism.  Additionally I do not believe in the
Virgin Birth.  I believe that Jesus began life fully human, was a
mixture of human and divine during his life, and became fully divine
after the ressurection (which I do not believe in litererally).

You may be wondering what I mean by divine.  By divine I mean part of
the symbolic order, as opposed to the natural order, or the physical
order, or the order of the flesh or what have you.  The symbolic order
means the Word.  I do not think the word is unchanging - in other
words, the Son who becomes divine (i.e. who becomes the Word, and who
purportedly was the word to begin with) is not of the same substance
as the Father, but brings something new to the equation.  It follows
from this that life is dynamic and unpredictable, and that there are
in fact new things under the sun.   Perhaps the Son is 'like' the
father (as one unsuccessful group maintained), but not of the same
substance, that is too rigid.  I don't think that Jesus was the Word
made flesh, but rather that he began as flesh, more or less,
his life unfolded according the rules of flesh and the
rules of word (eg Jewish prophesy, Roman Law), and that now he is
thouroughly word (and perhaps a pile of bones somewhere).

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Little Child Plotinus: "I want to go to the movies".

Mom: "You're not allowed".

Little Child Plotinus: "Counsel me, Pope Awesome VI. I detest being so little. I am not allowed to do anything that I want."

Pope Awesome VI: "You are right, Child Plotinus. Being little is a terrible burden. Only Father Time can lift the burden. Luckily for you, his scythe is sharp. All you have to do is stay alive."

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Some notes on my readings about Simon the Magician, early heretic:

According to Alfred Firmin Loisy, Simon Magus was a 'contemporary of Jesus and the first missionaries' whose 'messianic pretentions' qualified him, 'from the Christian point of view', as an Antichrist. Strictly speaking Simon 'never was a heretic in regard to Christianity, for he never professed it'. Rather, Simonianism was a rival cult arising out of the same millieu that gave rise to Christianity. 'Both in reality and legend the case of Simon and Dositheus [another would-be Messiah] is not without analogy to the case of Jesus, their relative insuccess, compared with the fortune awaiting him, being due to the limits which their origin and circumstances imposed on their propaganda'. Simon 'is presented in Christian tradition as the father of heretical gnosis'. However, from a less partisian point of view the distinction is less critical; Loisy contends that the orthodox Christianity that emerged from this period was in a sense 'a disciplined gnosis born of the same movement which produced the gnosis called heretical'.

On the doctrine of Simon:

'Among the Simonians the incarnation of Wisdom [a figure central to the cosmological narratives of classical Gnosticism] was alloted to Helena, Simon's female companion: she was the Supreme Thought, mother of all things; after issuing from the abode of divinity she brought forth the angels and the angels made the visible world, but they kept their mother a prisoner in order to conceal their origin and otherwise ignored God. After various metempsychoses — the most remarkable being that in which this feminine Logos became Helen of the siege of Troy — the Great Thought turns into a prostitute in a house of resort at Tyre; there the Great Power, incarnate in Simon, finds her, buys her freedom and attaches her to himself. In this gnostic poem (which the writers on heresy, to whom we owe the account of it, did not invent, though they may have put undue emphasis on some of its features) the Great Power is said to have been manifested in three forms; to the Jews, as Son, in Jesus who suffered death in appearance but not in reality; to the Samaritans, as Father, in Simon himself; to other people as the Holy Spirit. Salvation among the Simonians consists in the knowledge of this mystery; the knowledge carried with it freedom from the Law, which was a work of the creator-angels, and from laws of every kind, the distinction between good and evil being a human convention. — In this outline we are following Irenaeus {Heresies, i, 28) and Hippolytus {Philosophoumena, vi, 19, 20).'
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A list of early gnostic Christian leaders and sects, taken from The Birth of the Christian Religion (1933) by Alfred Firmin Loisy, Chapter 9, 'The Gnostic Crisis'.

Simon Magus (Simonians)
Satornil (Satornillians)
The Serpant Worshippers

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I've been reading a book called "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes", a book of biographical entries for each Pope from before Popes were called "Popes" right up to the Popes of the very recent past. The entries are chronological, so, myself having begun at the front of the book and proceeded in sequence according to page order, the objects of my learning have so far been limited by time to the 100 or so Popes who wielded the temporal keys to the eternal kingdom between the crucifiction and C.E. 500.

Primary theme sought out in this disciplined diversion: the evolution of heresy. As far as I can make it out, heresies in the first five hundered years of the Church tended to revolve around one of several knots of contention:

  • The relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spririt, and the implications of that relationship

  • Proper attitude toward apostates, i.e. those who in some sense betrayed the faith under various circumstances including persecution

  • The role of free will vis a vis divine grace (in salvation)

  • the nature of Jesus/Christ

Some of these theological focal points swung on very precise, technical theological language - often greek - that resisted easy translation then and to which modern translation introduces a degree of anachronism. These days as in those days, an early heresy is often referred to according to the name of its supposed originator. Here is a partial list:

Gnosticism (e.g. Valentinianism)
Pelegianism (and Semi-Pelegianism)

Whew! So many heresies! A lot of them have entries at wikipedia. Perhaps in a future post I will link the heretical movements with their principle points of schism with the emergent Church.

I've also learned a lot of other interesting things about the early Church through my reading, like

  • Almost all early popes (through 500 AD) are canonized as saints. Some anti-popes, apostates, and heretics are too.

  • The Church didn't excecute anyone for heresy until the fourth century.
    Early 'popes' weren't really popes at all. Almost nothing is known about the organization of the church in the first century. The monarchical character of the papacy developed over several centuries, as did the perogotive of the Roman bishop (i.e. the Pope) over bishops in other areas.

  • The character of the Church seems to have changed dramatically in response to its ascension to the status of state religion of the Roman Empire and the power vacuum created by the transfer of the Imperial capital to Constantinople. These events took place in the early 4th century. Afterwards the Papal biographies reflect a position extensively intertwined with Imperial and Barbarian politics.
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Most mornings when I wake up, assuming I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is a good reason to get out of bed. I lay there going over various aspects of my life in my head until one of them motivates me to get out of bed, usually with the promise of imminent gratification. Today I woke quietly and gently out of a dream in which I was hungry and rummaging around in the cupboard for something to eat. I couldn't find *anything!*. But then I remembered the Carnation Instant Breakfast. I looked around for it a little bit, and sure enough, there it was under a tin of Lipton iced tea (sorry [info]stanleylieber). It was yet unopened, and I had just enough milk for a full glass. I woke up, went to the cupboard, and opened a tin of Carnation Instant Breakfast. Luckily, in real life I had enough milk for several glasses.

note: while this interesting graphic that I stole features Instant Breakfast in a can, my narrative concerns Instant Breakfast in its powdered form, which I vastly prefer. Specifically, I like the 17.7 ounce tin, pictured on the left below:

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