Saturday, May 17, 2008

A possible love interest for the Philosopher?

. : Kyra Gracie : . Jiu-Jitsu
Keeping up the "family business."


Marcio Fetosa, Michael Simpson, Kyra Gracie, Rodrigo Lopes (source)

Q&A with Jujitsu World-Champion Kyra Gracie
MMA Fight Girls Wallpaper » Kyra Gracie
Kyra Gracie & The Gracie Academy
MMAFighting.com - Kyra Gracie Video Interview
Hot Potato: Kyra Gracie
The Gracie Family Tree

Should women learn self-defense? Probably. But should they compete, either for money or for some other prize? That's more questionable, I think. Nonetheless, given the Philosopher's interest in MMA, Kyra Gracie could be a date, instructor, and sparring partner for him.

KYRA GRACIE

Iron Man


I was going to watch Red Belt this morning, but it turns out the movie is being shown at 10:10 P.M., not 10:10 A.M. So... I decided to watch Iron Man instead. Really, there isn't much to evaluate for a movie such as this, so this will be a very short review. Does it work as a comic book movie? Yes. Will it make audiences want to see more? Yes. Is it high art? No. It's not meant to be taken seriously--it's based on an American comic book from the 60s! Let's not try to draw comparisons between Tony Stark's story as a arms inventor who has a conversion experience and what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. 'Nuff said!

(For example, an international terrorist organization that has the money to buy the latest weapons from an American company? And decides to use them in part to relocate Afghans? What is their motivation for fighting the United States? It's not religion--the creators of the movie wanted to avoid that real-world parallel. I don't think GI Joe or Nick Fury & SHIELD should be made into movies--COBRA and HYDRA are just not realistic depictions of terrorist organizations and they may further mislead Americans as to what the GWOT requires and its prospects for success. But it's too late, at least with respect to G.I. Joe. Is Ross Douthat correct in thinking that we have too many comic book/superhero movies right now? And are our modern secular superhero stories a bad thing?)

I think Lucasfilm did the CG--the makers of both Hulk movies could learn a lesson or two.

As for the hidden scene shown after the credits... while I do enjoy Samuel Jackson in some of his movies, I don't like the fact that they picked the Ultimate Nick Fury instead of the "normal" Nick Fury--no more origin story or connection with Captain America. (Though it is understandable that the studio would want a big name actor for a future Avengers movie.)

A modified Iron Monger design would be much better than Robocop 2, or some of the landmates in Appleseed.

IRON MAN :: OFFICIAL SITE :: IN THEATERS MAY 2ND, 2008
IRON MAN on Yahoo! Movies
IGN: Iron Man Trailer, Wallpaper, Pictures, Soundtrack and More.
Apple - Trailers - Iron Man
Iron Man (Anthony Stark) - Marvel Universe: The definitive online ...
Iron Man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Iron Man
Iron Man Armory
Iron Man Armor MK I - Marvel Database
Rejected Iron Man Movie Armor Concepts - Screen Rant
10 Iron Man Armors you won't see in the movie - The-TrukstoP.com ...
How To: Build Your Own Iron Man Armor | Danger Room from Wired.com

Edit:

The element of redemption in Iron Man?
Catholic Daedalus, Catholic Icarus
Re: Ironman the "Catholic Batman"
Oil, food and agrotherapy
It is a good time for an increasing number of people to return to the multiple benefits and pleasures of growing at least part of their own food by gardening and farming. In addition to satisfying the need to eat and drink, farming can also help deal with depression, passivity, and other forms of psychological suffering. It can help treat both the body and the soul.

also via EB:
Goodbye, girls
Chris Lydgate, Pamplin Media Group via Portland Tribune
Researcher ponders why U.S. kids reach puberty at an ever-younger age

Something else for Pete Takeshi



This picture was used for the cover of a recent issue of Protoculture Addicts. It's for Appleseed: Ex Machina. I was surprised to find this magazine on the shelves of the Cupertino Public Library (in the teen section)--I think they also carry Newtype USA, but I didn't see it on the shelf. Will Protoculture Addicts have a feature on Macross Frontier? I ask because the magazine gets its name from Macross, but by way of Carl Macek and Robotech.

Trailer for Fringe

JJ Abrams' newest series, @ AICN

I can't take Joshua Jackson (aka Pacey Witter) seriously, just like Brian Austin Grene, though his acting on The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been tolerable.

Will this catch on, like X-Files? I'd rather see more episodes of Millenium or The Inside. Anyone remember what happened to Threshold? (It didn't even finish one season on CBS--but maybe this is because of Brannon Braga.)

The main actress, Anna Torv (an Aussie), reminds me of Cate Blanchette--her appearance in Fringe, at least.

Tony Leung MVs

Tony Leung Chiu Wai - Hua Yang Nian Hua (MV)


maggie and tony singing at chinese new year concert
better quality of the above

梁朝偉-為情所困 (KTV f.周嘉玲, 1994) / Tony Leung f. Valerie Chow


一天一點愛戀


Faye Wong and Tony Leung-You are the only one


劉德華 + 梁朝偉 - 無間道(粵語) KTV


梁朝偉 偷偷愛你

alt

JACKY演唱_偷偷愛妳


Tony Leung in Venice interview
Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Friday, May 16, 2008

Richard Heinberg, Saying Goodbye to Air Travel

Saying Goodbye to Air Travel
I returned to Mrs. B's classroom today to put up her alphabet letters--many of the students were happy to see me again, including the ones to whom I had to raise my voice. It's a bit odd, and I don't know how sincere they are. Well, probably they are sincere, as sincere as children can be... it's more spontaneity than well-considered sincerity. They even asked when I would be returning to their class. I wonder how Mrs. C is handling them, but she seems patient yet firm, so I do not know what they think they are missing with me not around.

It should start to cool down on Sunday.

Lucas doesn't know when to quit

AICN: Lucas talks Indy V

There have been rumors that Indy IV would lead to a spin-off series featuring Shia Labeouf, but hasn't Indy's time come and gone? Why do we need a series of movies paying hommage to '50s cult classics?

*insert comments about Lucas getting lucky despite not having any great filmmaking talent*

John Bliese, The Conservative Case for the Environment

Note to self: Check out William Faulkner. The only Faulkner I've read is The Bear, back in high school. Time to get in touch with real American culture...


He looks quite different from what I imagined...

William Faulkner on the Web
wiki
William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Chet Richards reviews Killing Rommel

Killing Rommel

Rhonda Vincent's latest, I Gotta Start Somewhere

@ CMT blog

I think I prefer her old songs... I'm not sure what seems to cause the inevitable decline of an artist's music once they become more 'mainstream' -- is it part of the commercialization process?

CMT Bluegrass Blog
The Bluegrass Blog: bluegrass music news

Zenit: Fr. Cantalamessa's Gospel Commentary for Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

Trinity Is a School of Relations

Gospel Commentary for Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, MAY 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Why do Christians believe in the Trinity? Is it not hard enough to believe that God exists without having to add the puzzle about God being “one and three?”

There are some today who would not be upset if we dropped the Trinity. For one thing, they would say, it would help dialogue with the Jews and Muslims, who profess faith in a God who is strictly one.

The answer is that Christians believe that God is triune because they believe that God is love! If God is love, then he must love someone. There is no such thing as love of nothing, a love that is not directed at anyone. So we ask: Who is it that God loves so that he is defined as love?

A first answer might be that God loves us! But men have only existed for a few million years. Who did God love before that? God could not have begun to love at a certain point in time because God cannot change.

Another answer might be that before he loved us, he loved the cosmos, the universe. But the universe has only existed for a few billion years. Who did God love before that so that he was defined as love? We cannot say that God loved himself because self-love is not love, but egoism, or, as the psychologists say, narcissism.

How does Christian revelation answer this question? God is love in himself, before time, because there is eternally in him a Son, the Word, whom he loves from an infinite love which is the Holy Spirit.

In every love there are always three realities or subjects: one who loves, one who is loved and the love that unites them. Where God is understood as absolute power, there is no need for there to be more than one person, for power can be exercised quite well by one person; but if God is understood as absolute love, then it cannot be this way.

Theology has used the term “nature” or “substance” to indicate unity in God and it has used the term “person” to indicate a distinction. Because of this we say that our God is one God in three persons. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is not a regression, a compromise between monotheism and polytheism. On the contrary, it is a step forward for the human mind that could only be brought about by God.

The contemplation of the Trinity can have an important impact on our human life. The life of the Trinity is a mystery of relation. The divine persons are defined in theology as “subsistent relations.” This means that the divine persons do not “have” relations, but rather “are” relations. We human beings have relations -- of son to father, of wife to husband, etc. -- but we are not constituted by those relations; we also exist outside and without them. It is not this way with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We know that happiness and unhappiness on earth depend in large part upon the quality of our relationships. The Trinity reveals the secret to good relationships. Love, in its different forms, is what makes relationships beautiful, free and gratifying. Here we see how important it is that God be seen primarily as love and not as power: love gives, power dominates.

That which poisons a relationship is the will to dominate another person, to possess or use that person instead of welcoming and giving ourselves to him or her.

It should be added that the Christian God is one and three! This, therefore, is also the feast of the unity of God, not just God as Trinity. We Christians believe “in one God,” but the unity that we believe in is unity of nature not of number. It resembles more the unity of the family than that of the individual, more the unity of the cell than that of the atom.

The first reading presents us the biblical God as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and rich in kindness.” This is the principal trait that the God of the Bible, the God of Islam and the God (or rather the religion) of Buddhism have in common, and which provides the best basis for dialogue and cooperation among the great religions.

Every sura of the Quran begins with the following invocation: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” In Buddhism, which does not know a personal, creator God, the basis is anthropological and cosmic: Man must be merciful on account of the solidarity and responsibility that binds him to all living things.

The holy wars of the past and the religious terrorism of the present are a betrayal and not an apologia of one’s faith. How can one kill in the name of a God that one continues to proclaim as “the Merciful” and “the Compassionate”?

This is the most urgent task of interreligious dialogue that believers in all religions must pursue for the sake of peace and for the good of humanity.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

* * *

Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Exodus 34:4b-6.8-9; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18.

Zenit: The Polemics of Padre Pio

The Polemics of Padre Pio

Interview With Journalist Andrea Tornielli

By Antonio Gaspari

SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, MAY 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- When the remains of St. Pio da Pietralcina, known as Padre Pio, were displayed recently, something of a confrontation between believers and skeptics ensued.

Nearly 800,000 faithful made reservations to view the remains. Non-believers derided the show of popular piety.

A similar showdown is reflected in two books about the saint.

Historian Sergio Luzzatto wrote a book titled "Padre Pio. Miracoli e politica nell'Italia del Novecento" (Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in 20th-Century Italy), in which he accuses Padre Pio of being an impostor who inflicted the stigmata on himself.

Luzzatto's accusations have been dismantled by Saverio Gaeta and Andrea Tornielli in a book titled "Padre Pio l'ultimo sospetto" (Padre Pio: The Last Suspect).

ZENIT interviewed Tornielli, Il Giornale's Vatican reporter, about the confrontation between believers and skeptics in the case of Padre Pio.

Q: What do you think about the decision to exhume and display Padre Pio's remains?

Tornielli: […] There are many bodies of saints that are on display. Blessed John XXIII is under a crystal case in St. Peter's. I don't recall there being such barbed criticisms when the Pope's remains were displayed.

Q: Why are there so many criticisms? Is it a revolt against the saint or against the Church and people who venerate saints?

Tornielli: One must certainly avoid every kind of fanaticism: The point of the veneration of the saint and the saint's relics is to reinforce our faith in that Jesus whom the saint followed, and to show how the grace of God passes through the fragility of those who are destined to become dust.

Having said this, however, I see a great deal of intellectual conceit on the part of those who feel themselves capable of judging -- of certain "intelligentsias" who view the veneration of saints, popular piety, etc. as expressions of a childish, puerile, uncouth nature. In sum, something to look down upon. It is a shame because it was precisely this simple and powerful faith, through the shrines, that preserved itself even during the post-conciliar tempests. I believe that it is a matter of a critique of people who venerate saints.

Q: Could you explain the main points of your book responding to Luzzatto's accusations?

Tornielli: Luzzatto raised suspicions without getting to the bottom of any of them. He cast the stone and then hid his hand. He read only parts of documents; he made huge mistakes and errors. He cited documents in which it is inferred that Padre Pio asked a pharmacist for carbolic acid and veratrine but he did not explain that on the basis of other documents, it is quite clear what Padre Pio used these things for.

The "historian of the 21st century," as Luzzatto loves to call himself, never bothered to look at a 21st-century medical textbook: He would have discovered there that those acids cannot cause stigmata, nor keep them open and bloody for 50 years. Indeed, the contrary is true: They would have had a cauterizing effect.

In Luzzatto's book, Padre Pio is presented as an icon of clerical fanaticism: an unproven and an indemonstrable thesis, based on nothing, indeed, based on a truly quite grave historical error, given that the "professor" does not know how to read documents and "forgets" to write that during the uprisings in San Giovanni Rotondo in the 1920s a police officer died, assassinated by socialist demonstrators and that this death was the cause of the severe repression. In sum, from the historical point of view, Luzzatto's imaginative presentation completely falls apart.

Q: What is it in the sanctity of Padre Pio and in the proclamation of saints invoked by the people and verified by the Catholic Church that is displeasing to a certain modern culture?

Tornielli: They do not like the physicality, they do not like that one speaks of good and evil, of paradise and hell, they do not like it that there are people who can draw crowds, who can bring many souls to God, to conversion.

They do not like it that there are people who speak of the devil as a person who intervenes in our life and in history, they do not like a simple man of the people -- who does not have degrees or writes for the cultural pages of some newspaper or has academic titles -- clearly showing the beauty and the fascination of the Christian experience and the life of prayer. They do not like the reversal that we see in the Magnificat: "He cast down the mighty from their thrones and raised up the lowly."

Q: After so much study of Padre Pio, what is the idea that you have of this friar who spent the greater part of his life hearing the confessions of people's sins?

Tornielli: His greatest miracle was not the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital nor the countless graces that he obtained from God for the people who incessantly asked him for these. His greatest miracle was spending his life suffering and praying, and above all drawing souls to God.

The other aspect that really struck me has to do with his obedience: In a world in which any visionary -- or one who presumes such [experiences] -- feels free to do what they want and disobey the authority of the Church, Padre Pio teaches that the true mystic and ascetic always accepts that authority. In this too the friar from Pietralcina is an example and a model of true sanctity.

Zenit: Benedict XVI Writes Prayer for Church in China

Benedict XVI Writes Prayer for Church in China

For Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has composed a prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan to mark the Day of Prayer for the Church in China this month.

In his pastoral letter to Catholics in China last May, Benedict XVI designated May 24 as the day of prayer for the Catholic Church in China. The day is the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan, located 21 miles from Shanghai.

"Look upon the People of God," the Pope wrote in the prayer, "and, with a mother's care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens."

He refered to Mary as the "Mother of hope," and asked that help her the faithful to "discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence."

"Our Lady of Sheshan," he added, "sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus."

The Pope continued, "Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built."

Below is the Vatican's English translation of the prayer:

* * *

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians," the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.

We come before you today to implore your protection.

Look upon the People of God and, with a mother's care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God's eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.

You willingly and generously co-operated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, Who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in His footsteps by taking up His Cross.

Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.

Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love.

May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.

Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.

Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!


Prayer in [simplified] Chinese can be found at Asia News.

Possible BSG TV-movies?

AICN has a report.

Zenit: Bishops Ask Spirit's Aid in Understanding Movements

Bishops Ask Spirit's Aid in Understanding Movements

Cardinal Urges Prelates to See Them as Gift, Not Problem

By Marta Lago

ROCCA DI PAPA, Italy, MAY 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Bishops are gathered near Rome to invoke the Holy Spirit's aid in welcoming movements and communities into the fabric of local Churches.

That is how Cardinal Stankslaw Rylko explained one of the keys motivating the Pontifical Council for Laity to gather some 100 bishops for a three-day seminar that began today.

A key for these days, he said, is the common invoking of the Holy Spirit to "better know and understand the project of God in these new charisms, correctly discern their genuine character and ordered use in the bosom of Christian communities, welcome them with trust and gratitude into the fabric of the Churches entrusted to our pastoral care" and to offer them support "in their mission with an authentic spirit of spiritual fatherhood."

"It is undeniable," Cardinal Rylko said, "that movements and new communities have become for millions of the baptized in every corner of the planet, true 'laboratories of faith,' authentic schools of sanctity and mission."

"The movements launch the challenge of a missionary Church, courageously projected toward new frontiers," he added. "In our times, the Church has a great need of opening itself to this novelty generated by the Holy Spirit."

Cardinal Rylko said pastors should be the first in taking note of these "new things," but "we know that this is not always the case."

"Pastors -- and this has to be forcefully emphasized -- should not see movements and new communities as another 'problem' they have to deal with, but rather as a 'providential gift' that the Church should receive with gratitude and a sense of responsibility, so as not to waste the resource they represent," he added.

Discernment

This gift implies duties for laypeople as well as for bishops, Cardinal Rylko affirmed. He noted how Pope John Paul II insisted that these new realities are called to insert themselves into the dioceses and parishes "with humility […] at the service of the mission of the Church and avoiding any type of exclusiveness or […] attitudes of superiority regarding others."

The president of the pontifical council noted criteria offered by John Paul II and by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for discerning the life of movements in the Church.

Cardinal Ratzinger, as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, highlighted that "in the Church there is no contrast and contraposition between the institutional dimension and the charismatic dimension, of which the movements are a significant expression," Cardinal Rylko recalled.

And Cardinal Ratzinger affirmed that "integration can never mean homologation because ecclesial communion is not an absolute uniformity, but rather unity in diversity," Cardinal Rylko added.

He continued, "As Pope, [Ratzinger] continues insisting on the importance of the criteria of docility to the action of the Spirit in the bosom of the ecclesial communion."

One and many

Regarding Church-movement relationship, Cardinal Rylko stated, the current Pope has given priority to the Pauline rule "do not snuff out the charisms," and as a second criteria, "the Church is one." He synthesizes both guidelines in the words "gratitude, patience and also acceptance of the sufferings that are inevitable," the cardinal noted.

Following the magisterium of Benedict XVI, the pontifical council president affirmed, "It is not enough to welcome a movement; it is necessary to follow it with due pastoral solicitude." This task, he acknowledged, implies "an adequate knowledge of the unique realities present and active in the diocese."

In this task, the cardinal said, the pastors can count on the Pontifical Council for Laity, "a common house for the ecclesial movement and the new communities, and a direct expression, regarding these [groups], of the paternity of the Successor of Peter."

Benedict XVI will receive the prelates in audience Saturday.

Should I read more Leo Strauss?

A while back one of the frequent visitors to CHT alluded to the influence of Straussians upon ISI by pointing out that the name of its e-journal, First Principles, refers also to an essential part of the Straussian project. As an Aristotelian, I do not think that the search for universal first principles is wrong in itself, or the claim that these are known by all, but I do not know what the Straussians mean by first principles. According to Dr. Gutzmann,
For Strauss and his followers, the task of political philosophy is to articulate the timeless truths of morality and politics, as grounded in objective nature and expounded by the best thinkers of the past. The statesmen-intellectuals of the "American founding" gain particular attention. In their subjects' supposed effort to incorporate the enduring lessons of political science into the constitution of the American republic, contemporary Straussians find a compelling subject.
Seems innocuous, at first, doesn't it? I suppose the problem arises when they attempt to explain the American founders through their brand of political science, rather than looking at the sources from which the founders drew. (Is this method of understanding an author derived from their opposition to historicism?)

I have heard that Strauss does not have a high opinion or was skeptical of the medieval intellectual project and medieval philosophy, with its insistence upon the harmony of faith and reason. This is understandable since he did not accept the Christian Faith. What did he think of Church-state relations, and the proper relationship between the Church and secular authority in Christendom?

Straussians tend to have a questionable reputation with everyone else--"left" or "right." While some Catholics (such as Fr. Ernest Fortin) have learned from Strauss and see themselves as followers of Strauss (I don't know of Fr. Fortin would see himself in this way)

First Principles - On Straussian Teachings (by Paul Gottfried)

Thomas Woods repeats the claim that Straussians are subversive of public order in his review of Anne Norton's Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire:

Neoconservative Straussians today, in their defense of and even enthusiasm for acts of despotism in the alleged service of a higher good, appear to embrace the Machiavellian idea of the morally autonomous state. Indeed when Straussians refer to the concept of "statesmanship," they very often have in mind a politician’s willingness, in pursuit of his objectives, to break with received morality or his own country’s traditional legal order.
It is unclear to me if the author of the book herself makes this claim, or if she merely says that the followers of Strauss are not entirely faithful to him.

(Google Books: Anne Norton, Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire)

At any rate, because of First Principles, I have become aware that ISI is open to the followers of Strauss and considers them to be conservatives.

Now, the item which inspired this post--Ted McAllister reviews Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography: The Theologico-Political Problem Revisited: How to Think About the Modern Project, by Daniel Tanguay. Mr. McAllister is the author of Revolt Against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order. He is a member of the School for Public Policy at Pepperdine. Is he a West Coast Straussian? Probably. He has written for the Claremont Institute.

(Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography - Google Books Result)

Anyway, this is McAllister's summary of Strauss's ideal of the contemplative (or philosophical) life, according to Tanguay:
Tanguay finds the philosopher’s fundamentally erotic or zetetic way of life to preclude any dogmatic refutation of revelation. Strauss believed that the contemplative life is defined as openness to the Whole (which comes only with some awareness that there is a Whole). Contemplative happiness (that which is peculiar to the philosopher who alone fulfills human nature) is found in the journey that can have no resolution because humans cannot possess knowledge about the Whole, only awareness of that which they search. Since the Whole after which he lusts cannot be known, the philosopher cannot propose a dogmatic atheism and still retain his zetetic search. Incapable of eliminating the possibility of revelation, a genuine philosopher understands that he pursues the philosophical life based on faith—there is no objective grounding (beyond that found in the soul of the philosopher) that justifies his claim that the contemplative way of life is the highest or best. And so Strauss concludes that the theologico-political problem is universal and an insoluble part of the human condition.

(Both this and Anne Norton's book were published by Yale University Press. Is Yale UP friendly to Straussians? Is Yale a haven for Straussians? The Philosopher would probably know--I should ask him next time I talk to him on the phone.)

According to Tanguay:

The existential source (and hence the beginning) of Strauss’s philosophical quest was the Jewish problem and the purported liberal solution. On this subject Tanguay is often as elusive as was Strauss, but at the center of the Jewish problem stands the twin themes of authority and identity. The Jewish problem is an expression of the never resolved human problem of the relationship between theology and philosophy, and thus is a particular example of the universal theologico-political problem. The liberal solution to this problem was to make matters of religion private, chasing the deepest questions about how to live out of the public realm. Incapable of arguing away religious ontological claims, the modern answer was to leave to individuals the question about how to live well. In a word, the answer to competing religious traditions and claims to final authority was tolerance. In the case of Jews, the creation of an identity outside of the Law, as rights-bearing individuals of a liberal society, constituted a threat to the very Jewish identity as determined by fidelity to the Law and it provided legal equality that fostered assimilation without the means of providing social equality. Disconnected from the most basic form of their Jewish identity, Jews were nonetheless vulnerable to discrimination.

Strauss’s attempt to resolve the problem of Jews in modern society took several early forms but did not gain satisfactory clarity until, through his study of the “moderate” medieval enlightenment in Judaism and Islam, Strauss rediscovered Platonic or zetetic philosophy. Strauss discovered in the Jewish thinker Maimonides, and then the Islamic philosopher Farabi, a via media that resolved, at least temporarily, the tension between revelation and philosophy. If the Law, as discovered through revelation, declared that human flourishing is found in blind devotion to God while the philosophical imperative is skeptical and zetetic and finds human happiness in philosophical questioning, how can they coexist? The Law and revelation concern themselves with the moral and political life and establish the beliefs necessary to satisfy the human needs for a social and political life. The philosopher is not exempt from these needs even if he cannot believe unambiguously in the claims that establish the social/moral life that he so needs.

Farabi understood the different needs of the citizen and the philosopher and therefore noted the important distinction between necessary beliefs (political and moral beliefs that come from revelation) and true beliefs (the beliefs determined by reason). If necessary beliefs are important conditions for the philosopher to devote himself to the theoretical life in pursuit of true beliefs, the philosopher must respect both beliefs and should write in a way that supports necessary beliefs while exposing to other philosophers true beliefs. Strauss embraced this “esoteric writing” because true philosophers pursue their quest based on three assertions: 1) that only very few people are suited to the theoretical or philosophical life and that all others would be harmed by having their religious beliefs challenged; 2) that true beliefs expressed too bluntly to the vulgar poses a direct threat to the life and wellbeing of philosophers as their statements would pose a threat to the health of the city; and 3) that philosophers cannot provide a satisfactory alternative to revelation—that the philosopher has to assume that revelation may be true as well as necessary.

Common to both Jerusalem and Athens—to all the meaningful ancient alternatives—is the assertion of a normative order, to an authority found in revelation or in Nature, that defines the best way to live.
How does Strauss understand Natural Law? Is it susceptible to the charge that it is a form of "naturalism"? (See Finnis and Rhonheimer's critique of attempting to derive the norms of ethics from "nature," or the consequent definition of Natural Law that is also erroneous.)

Would Strauss have had a different opinion about man's ultimate end if he experienced authentic Jewish mysticism or spirituality? Is an authentic Jewish mysticism possible after the coming of Christ? The quick answer is that it is possible, in so far as "mysticism" or the "spiritual life" is available to anyone receptive to grace. So "Jewish" describes the subject of mysticism, and not the intellectual or spiritual means by which mysticism is attained.

Strauss has acquired the same conceit of the ancient philosophers, particularly Plato and Aristotle, that the contemplative life being the ideal or most perfect for human beings. Someone aware of the distinction between nature and grace might respond that they are merely talking about the the ideal or most perfect life attainable by human power alone? But even if that is the case, it is still disordered, if it is not ordered to the love of God.

Ignoring for now the grace-nature controversy that preoccupied de Lubac and the neo-scholastics, I would posit that in a created order where man is called only to a natural end, that end would not only be God, but the best act would be some sort of natural mysticism or contemplation motivated by the natural love of God, not the philosophical contemplation separated from God, to which philosophers strive.

Metaphysics can show that our starting-point for ethics is wrong if we assume that the good in which our ultimate end consists is ourselves. (As it is the case with the ancients and with any ethical system that disregards God.) The metaphysician can show that God is not only the First [Efficient] Cause, but the Final Cause as well, not only for Himself but for all of creation.

How useful can Strauss be as an ethical philosopher, in comparison to Aristotle, if they are both ignorant of the ultimate end to which all are called, and the need for grace? Strauss is unable to correct Aristotle in this regard. How do they compare on political questions? Does Strauss accept or deny what Aristotle says about the common good and so on? How does Strauss reconcile the tension between the contemplative and active life for the citizen, a tension in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics that still baffles philosophers and scholars today? (From what I have heard from Straussians, they along with Strauss seem to agree with Aristotle that the contemplative life is better. But what of friendship, including political friendship?) Can Straussians defend the judgment that Strauss is better than Aristotle with regards to political theory and should therefore be considered one of its masters?

While Strauss did give an historical account of the development of rights theory and a philosophical critique of rights in Natural Right and History, has his work been contradicted by further research and reflection on the medieval developments in rights theory? (The Philosopher still recommended it to me.) Are rights universal and part of the Natural Law? Or are they culture-bound? Perhaps both? Does the anti-historicism stance of Strauss prevent him from seeing that some rights are not universal and should not be recognized universally?

(Would we be better able to understand Aristotle's Politics if his records of various constitutions had been preserved? The Politics can seem so abstract, though the examples he draws from various constitutions to illustrate his points are helpful. But how much more helpful would it be if we could refer to the entire constitution of various polities?)

As for Strauss's understanding of Plato... I'd rather read more Plato and follow the lead of Giovanni Reale. One of Strauss's students, Stanley Rosen is a noted Plato scholar, and I have not yet read his commentaries on Plato. Someday, perhaps.


Related Links:
FT March 2000: Leo Strauss: Natural Right and History (1953)
Strauss, Leo: Natural Right and History
On Strauss and Natural Right « The fence between true opinions and ...
The Ambivalence of Classic Natural Right: Leo Strauss on ...
The Claremont Institute - Ernest Fortin's Teaching for Catholics
The Claremont Institute - The Christian Socrates
on the passing of Fr. Fortin, the Weekly Standard: Faith and Reason

Leo Strauss:

Leo Strauss, Conservative Mastermind
Leo Strauss's Platonism
Chicago Reader | Defending Strauss: University of Chicago ...
The Real Leo Strauss - New York Times
Faith and Political Philosophy: The Correspondence Between Leo ... - Google Books Result
The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: An Introduction to ... - Google Books Result
Leo Strauss, the Straussians, and the American Regime: The ... - Google Books Result
The Claremont Institute - Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political ...
Zuckert, Catherine H.: The Truth about Leo Strauss

Note to self: do some research on Carl Schmitt-

The Concept of the Political
On the Three Types of Juristic Thought
Legality and Legitimacy
Legality and Legitimacy.
carl schmitt
LJIL - International Theory of Carl Schmitt
The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy - Google Books Result
The Challenge of Carl Schmitt - Google Books Result
Carl Schmitt, the Inquisition, and Totalitarianism
Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue - Google Books Result
Legality and Legitimacy: Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen and Hermann ... - Google Books Result
Meier, Heinrich: Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss
Contribution of political theology of Carl Schmitt for political ... (doc)

He supported the Nazi regime? How Catholic was Carl Schmitt? Was he warned by any of the bishops?


Books by Giovanni Reale:

Dialogues on Plato - The Idea of the Good
History of Ancient Philosophy I, A
History of Ancient Philosophy II, A
History of Ancient Philosophy III, A
History of Ancient Philosophy IV, A
The Concept of First Philosophy and the Unity of the Metaphysics of Aristotle
Toward a New Interpretation of Plato

Misc:
Modern Ancients
Stanley Rosen's achievement.
by Thomas Hibbs
Marc Cohen's Home Page
MEDITATIE en MYSTIEK

Tony Leung English Interview in the U.S.

For 2046...


Bright Lights Film Journal | 2046
In the Mood for Rapture - TIME

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kunstler and Orlov interview
KMO, C-Realm Broadcast (audio)
KMO talks first with James Howard Kunstler about his new novel, World Made By Hand. Next he speaks with Dmitry Orlov about the 5 stages of collapse and about his book, Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects, which has just been released. KMO closes the podcast with a reading on the difference between "breakdown" and "collapse" from Thomas Homer-Dixon's excellent book The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization.

Show notes: kmo.livejournal.com/351387.html
(14 May 2008)

mp3

via EB

Diocese of the Assyrian Apostolic Church enters full communion with the Catholic Church

From California Catholic Daily:

Ecumenical triumph
California-based diocese of the Assyrian Apostolic Church enters full communion with the Catholic Church [full story]

Deo gratias!

Other links:
Mar Bawai Soro: His Vision and Roadblocks
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Diocese for Chaldeans and Assyrians USA
baghdadhope: Historical announcement by Catholic Diocese of San ...
The Splendor of the Church: BISHOP AND AN ENTIRE DIOCESE OF THE ...
The Splendor of the Church: ASSYRIAN [i.e., Nestorian] DIOCESE ...
Assyrians Elect To Enter Into Full Commnunion w/ Catholic Church ...
Mar Bawai Soro's Storefront - Lulu.com
Father Robert Taft: Mar Bawai Soro
nestorians.htm

Assyrian Church of the East (Western California Diocese) - Home

Videos and photos: Ecclesial Unity of the Church of the East: Historic Celebrations

(I don't know what to make of the church interiors though... how does it compare to traditional Assyrian churches? Too much Latinization?)

His Grace Mar Bawai Soro


Edit:
Ab Oriente blog

Lind, Freedomland

Freedomland
By William S. Lind
The Petraeus and Crocker kabuki act notwithstanding, Iraq is a state in name only.

Lind hasn't changed his tune at all:

What should we do? First, we must understand what “winning” in Iraq means. It does not mean that Iraq becomes an American satellite. That remains the goal of the Bush administration and the neocons, but it is not and never was attainable.

Winning in Iraq simply means that a state re-emerges there. The rise of a new state in Iraq means defeat for al-Qaeda and other non-state entities, who are our real enemies. States don’t like competition, and real states do not permit non-state entities to exist on their territory (unless they are actually proxies the state plans to use against other states).

Second, we must accept the now well-proven fact that we cannot re-create a state in Iraq. We have tried for five years and we have nothing to show for it beyond 4,000 dead, tens of thousands wounded, and an empty treasury. The problem is legitimacy. Any state institutions we create or overtly support will not be accepted by the Iraqi people as legitimate. That is generally true of governments created and installed by foreign occupiers. The local response is, “Vichy ptui.”

A new state can only arise in Iraq independently of our efforts and indeed opposed to foreign occupation. We have to get out of the way and let it happen. It may not. There is no guarantee. There is, however, a guarantee that we cannot make it happen, so getting out of the way is the more promising road to victory. Strategy dictates that we come home, not as an acknowledgement of defeat but as a final bid to win.

Third, we must face the fact that a real Iraqi state is likely to be close to Iran. The solution is not to bomb Iran but to settle our differences—what diplomats call a rapprochement. Tehran has offered us a general settlement on quite generous terms. We should take them up on it. If the U.S. and Iran are no longer enemies, the fact that a new Iraqi state is allied with Iran is not a problem.

Gutzmann, Virginia's Example Inspires the World

Virginia's Example Inspires the World

by Kevin R. C. Gutzman

The first of the Virginians’ resolutions called for the adoption of a declaration of rights. The committee appointed to draft that declaration, chaired by George Mason of Gunston Hall, soon reported a document establishing the Lockean foundation of Virginia’s assertion of home rule. All men are born free and equal, it said, and when they enter into a state of society, they cannot be deprived of their basic rights.

The balance of the Declaration of Rights was devoted to explaining the relationship between citizens and government and to enshrining some of the basic rights of Englishmen, such as the right to trial by jury and the right to have militia, not professional soldiers, be the government’s first recourse.

The Avalon Project of Yale University has helpfully posted the final version of the Declaration of Rights of 1776 online. In doing so, however, it mistakenly identifies Mason as the Declaration’s draftsman. Although Mason did the lion’s share of the work, there were two important areas in which the final text was a product of the entire Convention.

First, at the beginning, Mason would have had the Declaration state simply that men are born free and equal and that they cannot be deprived of certain basic rights. When his committee reported its draft to the full Convention, however, it met the objection that such a pious statement either would soon yield social convulsion (in case it were actually implemented by an abolition of slavery) or, in being ignored, would teach Virginians not to respect their Declaration of Rights. That is why the Convention added the caveat that when they enter into a state of society, men cannot be deprived of their rights. The slaves were not entering into the Lockean compact that was creating republican Virginia.The other change to Mason’s handiwork came in the final provision. Mason, a self-described "Man of 1688" (the Glorious Revolution), had said that Virginians were entitled to the fullest "toleration" in matters of religion. Madison objected to this language, noting its implication that the state knew best. His alternative proposal was that Virginians were to enjoy the "free exercise" of religion. The house, including Mason, agreed.

Thus began the American tradition of declarations of rights. The work of George Mason and his colleagues would serve as a template for other states’ declarations of rights, for the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (Virginian Thomas Jefferson helped his friend the marquis de la Fayette in the composition, so it is unsurprising that some of the French provisions were virtual translations of the Virginian versions), and, through the influence of French law, of those of former French colonies around the world. Ultimately, several of the Virginian ideas made their way into the UN version.

This was not the most important work of the May Convention, however, but only its prelude. Next came the real work: adopting a permanent republican constitution. Like the other colonies, Virginia had been arguing for years that its sole legal link to Great Britain was through the Crown. Virginia patriots said that their House of Burgesses should have the primary role in the government and repeatedly ran off royal governors whose policies or personalities they found unacceptable. According to them, their colonial constitution was a mirror image of Britain’s, and so their 1776 constitution established a very similar government.

The Virginia Constitution of 1776 was the first written constitution adopted by the people’s representatives in the history of the world. Beyond the fact that it was a written constitution, there was, as anyone who knew Mason might have predicted, basically nothing innovative about it. The first governor of republican Virginia, Patrick Henry, took the oath of office on June 29, 1776.

More on the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Lots to examine in what the Virginians did and wrote, and how they justified it. Does the Lockean foundation undo everything else that follows?

Robotic suit could usher in super soldier era

The Army believes soldiers may someday wear the suits in combat, but it's focusing for now on applications such as loading cargo or repairing heavy equipment. Sarcos is developing the technology under a two-year contract worth up to $10 million, and the Army plans initial field tests next year.

Before the technology can become practical, the developers must overcome cost barriers and extend the suit's battery life. Jameson was tethered to power cords during his demonstration because the current battery lasts just 30 minutes.

But the technology already offers evidence that robotics can amplify human muscle power in reality—not just in the realm of comic books and movies like the recently debuted "Iron Man," about a wealthy weapons designer who builds a high-tech suit to battle bad guys.


via Drudge

This may make fanboys and otakus giddy, but is it really cost-effective? (1) Energy demands may prevent this or anything similar from ever being common use. (2) It seems to me that in 4GW opponents seek to negate technological advantages by employing low-tech countermeasures, rather than having a direct confrontation. So what's the point? Just another expensive toy to keep the military industrial complex going...


source: Random Curiosity

So the Battle Fortress shown during the opening of Macross Frontier is not Battle 25, but the SMS ship, the Macross Quarter.
Oops... embedding code does not remain fixed for some reason when one switches back and forth from the html editor. Embedding for Anna Netrebko vids now fixed...

Marco Pierre White

Gordon Ramsay's former teacher and mentor, Marco Pierre White:

Country Inns by Marco Pierre White


The man who made Gordon Ramsay cry | Salon Life

OFM Interview: Marco Pierre White | Food and drink | Life and Health
Marco Pierre White: The Restaurant Guys
The Business of Fun : Marco Pierre White is sometimes a slave ...
Take one ego - Telegraph
RT's interview with Marco Pierre White - Radio Times
Marco Pierre White No Fan of Gordon Ramsay
Marco Pierre White: Is the original bad boy of cooking really as ...
Hell’s Kitchen: Interview With Marco Pierre White - Unreality TV
Bordeaux-Undiscovered: Marco Pierre White and Hells Kitchen
TV with MeeVee: Marco Pierre White Comes To US TV
NBC Puts Chefs on 'Chopping Block' - Culinary competition features ...

He is the presenter of the UK version of Hell's Kitchen. (Gordon Ramsay was head chef for season one.) Click on the links to read about their falling-out. NBC is producing a new cooking competition show with him as supervisor.

Gordon Ramsay recipe archives







Times Online Gordon Ramsay recipe archive
Gordon Ramsay recipes | 4Food | Channel4.com
BBC America - Ramsay's F-Word Recipe of the Week
Gordon Ramsay Recipe Search Food Network

Gordon Ramsay, the chef from 'Hell,' is back in the TV kitchen

Q: You invited a contestant from last season, Julia Williams, Atlanta's favorite waffle house chef, to come back. Will she be back in the fourth season?

A: She will be back in the fifth.

Q: Tell us about the London West Hollywood restaurant and what kind of chef you are looking for to run it.

A: I have to say, opening up in New York taught me a lot about that level of attention to detail. London's a tough market, Paris is a tough market, but New York, well, that's extraordinary. Everything I learned and didn't do in New York I would put into place here in the London West Hollywood.

It's fascinating, when you look at the critics' reviews, and we had a great one in the New York Observer and all that, and then the New York Times came and it was a devastation; two stars out of four. They said that I played safe because it wasn't fireworks. Then they judged the persona over the substance that was on the plate.

Here in L.A., trust me, there will be fireworks from the canapés right through to the desserts. It's not going to be sedated, heavy, rich French cuisine; it's going to be a light and American, California-style with a bit of a Japanese influence.

One thing I can't afford to get sucked up in is the trend formation of restaurants here. I've invested heavily. We have a 10-year lease. More importantly, the style, the feel and the décor of the dining room is vibrant. It's very L.A., very cool fabrics, lots of silver, lots of nickel, brushed stainless steel and lots of cream fabric.

Q: You had over 22,000 chefs e-mail and apply to be on "Hell's Kitchen." You have a former chef who's an electrician, you have someone who's a stay-at-home dad, you have a receptionist. I know you believe a lot in second chances. Why is it important to have those types of people in a competition like this instead of executive chefs from various restaurants?

A: I'd like to think now that "Hell's Kitchen" has become synonymous with giving anyone excited about food a level of opportunity. When you think about someone like Julia from the waffle house, how that level of taste and that kind of control and what she perceived, there she is cooking sort of run-of-the-mill, sort of mainstream American cuisine and then competing with an executive chef.

When chefs enter this industry and they graduate from culinary school they chase silly titles, which means nothing. What is an executive chef? It's a chef that operates a computer that hits a P&L account and goes through a budgeting format with a food and beverage manager. If you're going to be a chef, then cook. There's no greater joy.

On the use of obscenity:

Q: What's going on with all the cursing?

A: I don't like cursing. That may sound slightly bizarre, but trust me, it's not my fault entirely. It's the industry language, and any chef would be a hypocrite if they didn't admit to swearing in the kitchen. It's something I'm not proud of.

Every time, I get reminded of that by my mother. More importantly, I have four young children. My wife is a schoolteacher. I can switch it off. I have an outside life. I'm not forecasting for my first heart attack at the age of 41.

Gordon Ramsay Interview on Parkinson
Gordon Ramsay interview | Simply Business: Spring 2007 | Small ...
The gospel according to Gordon Ramsey (Warning: it may be enough ...
Chef Ramsay’s Gordian knot (Can he keep his restaurant empire going? Is Marco Pierre White right to criticize celebrity chefs who lend only their name to a restaurant and do not work in the kitchen?)

How much of Kitchen Nightmares is real? The reality behind the show:

Gordon Ramsay checks into the Priory

Well... too good to be true I suppose...
Sears majesty to hedge-fund dust
By Julian Delasantellis

John Ross, Why Mexican Justice is a Euphemism

Miserere mei, Deus - G. Allegri

Schola Romana

Also via Rod Dreher: Michael Pollan speaks at Google



Michael Pollan's nine key points -- megnut.com, Unhappy Meals

1. Eat food. Though in our current state of confusion, this is much easier said than done. So try this: Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. (Sorry, but at this point Moms are as confused as the rest of us, which is why we have to go back a couple of generations, to a time before the advent of modern food products.) There are a great many foodlike items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food (Go-Gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Nondairy creamer?); stay away from these.

2. Avoid even those food products that come bearing health claims. They’re apt to be heavily processed, and the claims are often dubious at best. Don’t forget that margarine, one of the first industrial foods to claim that it was more healthful than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to give people heart attacks. When Kellogg’s can boast about its Healthy Heart Strawberry Vanilla cereal bars, health claims have become hopelessly compromised. (The American Heart Association charges food makers for their endorsement.) Don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.

3. Especially avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number — or that contain high-fructose corn syrup.None of these characteristics are necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but all of them are reliable markers for foods that have been highly processed.

4. Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. You won’t find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmer’s market; you also won’t find food harvested long ago and far away. What you will find are fresh whole foods picked at the peak of nutritional quality. Precisely the kind of food your great-great-grandmother would have recognized as food.

5. Pay more, eat less. The American food system has for a century devoted its energies and policies to increasing quantity and reducing price, not to improving quality. There’s no escaping the fact that better food — measured by taste or nutritional quality (which often correspond) — costs more, because it has been grown or raised less intensively and with more care. Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is shameful, but most of us can: Americans spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their income on food, down from 24 percent in 1947, and less than the citizens of any other nation. And those of us who can afford to eat well should. Paying more for food well grown in good soils — whether certified organic or not — will contribute not only to your health (by reducing exposure to pesticides) but also to the health of others who might not themselves be able to afford that sort of food: the people who grow it and the people who live downstream, and downwind, of the farms where it is grown.

“Eat less” is the most unwelcome advice of all, but in fact the scientific case for eating a lot less than we currently do is compelling. “Calorie restriction” has repeatedly been shown to slow aging in animals, and many researchers (including Walter Willett, the Harvard epidemiologist) believe it offers the single strongest link between diet and cancer prevention. Food abundance is a problem, but culture has helped here, too, by promoting the idea of moderation. Once one of the longest-lived people on earth, the Okinawans practiced a principle they called “Hara Hachi Bu”: eat until you are 80 percent full. To make the “eat less” message a bit more palatable, consider that quality may have a bearing on quantity: I don’t know about you, but the better the quality of the food I eat, the less of it I need to feel satisfied. All tomatoes are not created equal.

6. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. Scientists may disagree on what’s so good about plants — the antioxidants? Fiber? Omega-3s? — but they do agree that they’re probably really good for you and certainly can’t hurt. Also, by eating a plant-based diet, you’ll be consuming far fewer calories, since plant foods (except seeds) are typically less “energy dense” than the other things you might eat. Vegetarians are healthier than carnivores, but near vegetarians (“flexitarians”) are as healthy as vegetarians. Thomas Jefferson was on to something when he advised treating meat more as a flavoring than a food.

7. Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. Confounding factors aside, people who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than we are. Any traditional diet will do: if it weren’t a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn’t still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others: Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to how a culture eats, as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and alcohol?!) so much as the dietary habits: small portions, no seconds or snacking, communal meals — and the serious pleasure taken in eating. (Worrying about diet can’t possibly be good for you.) Let culture be your guide, not science.

8. Cook. And if you can, plant a garden. To take part in the intricate and endlessly interesting processes of providing for our sustenance is the surest way to escape the culture of fast food and the values implicit in it: that food should be cheap and easy; that food is fuel and not communion. The culture of the kitchen, as embodied in those enduring traditions we call cuisines, contains more wisdom about diet and health than you are apt to find in any nutrition journal or journalism. Plus, the food you grow yourself contributes to your health long before you sit down to eat it. So you might want to think about putting down this article now and picking up a spatula or hoe.

9. Eat like an omnivore. Try to add new species, not just new foods, to your diet. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases. That of course is an argument from nutritionism, but there is a better one, one that takes a broader view of “health.” Biodiversity in the diet means less monoculture in the fields. What does that have to do with your health? Everything. The vast monocultures that now feed us require tremendous amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep from collapsing. Diversifying those fields will mean fewer chemicals, healthier soils, healthier plants and animals and, in turn, healthier people. It’s all connected, which is another way of saying that your health isn’t bordered by your body and that what’s good for the soil is probably good for you, too.


Michael Pollan - In Defense of Food