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February 10, 2011



Cora Diamond raises a similar case in one of her papers, from a poem by de la Mare in which a titmouse is described as "This tiny son of life; this sprite." The idea is that the bird is a companion, a fellow creature, but the full terror of that idea seems to require language involving what on the surface are very hefty metaphysics.

I had a similar thought about a line in a novel I read recently (Andre Aciman's Eight White Nights). One of the characters (an elderly Jewish artist) says, "Art is about one thing: speaking directly to God in God's language and hoping He listens. The rest is pipi caca." You don't have to be a theist to feel that this hits the concept at the right level.


Have been reading Bruno Latour on just this question of the meaning of religion and 'ecotheology' (an ugly coinage, but it'll serve). There's no question but that religious discourse remains meaningful, and not in some condescendingly granted sense either-- it is the most immediate of experiences, and in a sense pre-linguistic (which is why one can always quibble with the words). The critics of theology are all too often 'right in what they deny, but wrong in what they affirm.'

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