The man’s website is here.
Archives for July 2016
Here is a link some of you—JOB(e)s in particular—might find of interest: The Vatican digitizing a manuscript of Vergil’s Aeneid from the year 400 (or thereabouts).
In Rome, around the year 400, a scribe and three painters created an illuminated manuscript of Virgil’s Aeneid, illustrating the ancient hero Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Italy. 1,600 years later, the Vatican has digitized the surviving fragments of this manuscript. Known as the Vergilius Vaticanus, it’s one of the world’s oldest versions of the Latin epic poem, and you can browse it for free online.
The digitization project is part of a years-long effort by Digita Vaticana, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Vatican Library, to convert the library’s manuscripts into digital format. Founded in 1451, the library is home to some 80,000 manuscripts and texts, including drawings and notes by the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo. Digita Vaticana’s goal is to convert these “40 million pages into 45 quadrillion bytes,” according to its website.
That’s old. That’s ancient, to distinguish it from medieval, and specifically those manuscripts transmitted to us by medieval monks.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, this year’s winner of Great Britain’s distinguished Templeton Prize, delivered an exceptional acceptance speech on “Rediscovering Our Moral Purpose”. He begins with the concept of outsourcing, of all things, tracing its development in history and in the progress of the West in particular. And then contrasts this outsourcing with a necessary spiritual Korrektiv, insourcing.
Here is an excerpt; read the whole thing here.
Our computers and smartphones have developed larger and larger memories, from kilobytes to megabytes to gigabytes, while our memories, and those of our children have got smaller and smaller. In fact, why bother to remember anything these days if you can look it up in a microsecond on Google or Wikipedia?
But here, I think, we made a mistake. We confused history and memory, which are not the same thing at all. History is an answer to the question, “What happened?” Memory is an answer to the question, “Who am I?” History is about facts, memory is about identity. History is his-story. It happened to someone else, not me. Memory is my story, the past that made me who I am, of whose legacy I am the guardian for the sake of generations yet to come. Without memory, there is no identity. And without identity, we are mere dust on the surface of infinity.
Lacking memory we have forgotten one of the most important lessons to have emerged from the wars of religion in the 16th and 17th century and the new birth of freedom that followed. Even to say it sounds antiquarian but it is this: a free society is a moral achievement. Without self-restraint, without the capacity to defer the gratification of instinct, and without the habits of heart and deed that we call virtues, we will eventually lose our freedom.
That is what Locke meant when he contrasted liberty, the freedom to do what we ought, with licence, the freedom to do what we want. It’s what Adam Smith signalled when, before he wrote The Wealth of Nations, he wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It’s what Washington meant when he said, “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people.” And Benjamin Franklin when he said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” And Jefferson when he said, “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”
Sure you can. You just need to cover one eye and squint really hard with the other! OR, you can head on over to Wiseblood Books (Korrektiv’s sober, productive, vastly more successful younger brother) and order up a copy of James Joyce’s Catholic Categories by Fr. Colum Power.
Just $25! And if the literary heavyweights on the team (looking at you, JOB and Jobe) can manage to step away from the comic book rack at the local Kwik Stop for a few minutes, we might even post a review. In the meantime, after the jump, we have a KORREKTIV EXKLUSIVE sneak peek at…the table of contents!
A long time ago, the (mostly) TV writer Karen Hall very kindly hosted me and The Wife for dinner at the above restaurant in Santa Monica (now closed) to talk about a pilot she had sold. (She told me to keep an eye out for an upcoming drama called Mad Men; that’s how long ago this was.) We had a lovely evening, though the pilot, as far as I know, has yet to be produced. Hall went on to do numerous other things. I went on to join this blog. Now comes word that she has done what very few authors get a chance to do: go back and fiddle with an already published novel. (I think of Waugh tinkering with later editions of Brideshead, and not much else.) What fun!
“It’s certainly the case that the people who think it’s bad, it’s bad for them,” says sex researcher Nicole Prause, who’s the principal investigator at the Sexual Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience Lab, in Los Angeles. “The actual inherent ‘badness’ there’s very little evidence for. Those who identify with no religious orientation or are agnostic don’t have porn addiction. The label and shaming has grown out of religious values and beliefs in the culture.”
Interesting. The return of the repressed and all that, I suppose. Though I do recall Martin Amis’ recollection of Gore Vidal: “Gore Vidal once said that the only danger in watching pornography is that it might make you want to watch more pornography; it might make you want to do nothing else but watch pornography.” And also this guy — though he does mention jacking it for 26 hours one Yom Kippur, so maybe the religious thing applies somehow.
…story of my life.
Sigh. It looks like the pilot/premiere of Bat Out of Hell will not in fact be entering the fray during the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, just as Percival vs. The Pale King (now re-imagined as a fictional work set in Wallace’s classroom as he teaches The Moviegoer) will not be released during the 100th anniversary of Percy’s birth. Bosch: Touched by the Devil is a provocative title for this rather more timely documentary, but I would have preferred Bosch: The Comedian of Hell.