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It's a Miraculous Life

So says Wendell Berry as he gives the metaphorical finger to E.O. Wilson and all philosophical materialists.

In the pictured book, Berry takes Wilson and his reductionistic tendencies to the whipping post: ". . .[H]e cannot suspect, the possibility that relgious faith may be a way of knowing things that cannot otherwise be known." J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis said the same thing of myth. Wilson, in his book, Consilience, wants to make every human endeavor subservient to science and conform to the scientific method as a way of understanding all things.

A minor problem, perhaps, is the tendency of materialism to objectify the world, dividing it from the "objective observer" who studies it. The world thus becomes "the environment," a word which Mr. Wilson uses repeatedly when speaking of conservation, and which means "surroundings," a place that one is in but not of. The question raised by this objectifying procedure and its vocabulary is whether the problems of conservation can be accurately defined by an objective observer who observes at an intellectual remove, forgetting that he eats, drinks, and breathes the so-called environment.

In all, Berry maintains, in this book-length essay, that life is too complex, too varied, and too wonder-full to be reduced to a formula, observation, or theory. He isn't anti-science, just anti-scientism. This is another fine addition to my growing Berry library.


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The 11th Hour

If you haven't celebrated Christmas by now, you're not likely to start. Conversely, you don't have to quite let it go yet.

Fight the ahistoricity! It's a feast of twelve days and depending on how you count, this is eleven or Epiphany Eve.

In the Christian East, tonight is the vigil of Theophany.

Theophany/Epiphany are two different sides of the same coin.

The West honors the Magi--who represent all of us goyim--and the miracle at the wedding at Cana (water for wine, anyone?)

The East honors Jesus' baptism, and in more minor ways his circumcision and the Magi, too.

It's all about a manifestation, a revealing, a shining forth. The Trinity is revealed (at the baptism), salvation is revealed to all the world (the Magi), the start of Jesus' public ministry (Cana).

Just as the Incarnation honors all bodies, as the Son suddenly was born with one, so Theophany honors all the Earth's waters.

Paralleling the Jewish Festival of Lights, this perfectly winds down th…