Date of publication: 2017-08-14 08:49
My views have developed over the years, mostly by expansion. I continue to think we can survive bad popes, and that there might even be some value in them, obscure to us because we cannot see things whole. But setting that observation aside, it is of the greatest possible importance to us in the care and feeding of our immortal souls that we continue in the practice of the liturgy and doctrine, upholding not only the law, but the spirit of the Law, regardless of personal convenience.
One might even say they restore an aristocratic tradition, for in Europe over the centuries the high-born would (and could afford to) get married twice: first in a modest civil ceremony for the paperwork, then more extravagantly (both materially and spiritually) in the Cathedral, once that is filed away. Our contemporary ecclesiastical authorities tell you to get a civil divorce first, before applying for an annulment. This is the same idea, except, morally and spiritually upside down.
The music that moves us is itself a product of movement. As a musician who is a tactile learner, I’m keenly aware of the way a piece feels as I play it. Despite years of piano teachers telling me to read the page in front of me while I play, my eyes habitually wander to my hands, where the music is really happening. This gap between reading and performing music keeps me from fully expressing my musical ideas.
Shifting from being front and center to an observant spectator, I began to see beyond myself, picking up the art of people-watching. As if placing an invisibility cloak on, I would quietly sink into the blue armchair, discreetly watching peoples’ behavior and interactions with one another. I found myself creating whimsical backstories of circumstance for each passerby, intertwining chance encounters and meaningful exchanges. People-watching not only helped me to become more aware of those around me, was also as an opportunity to explore undiscovered parts of myself.
Here is where our world starts our post-classical world as it floats free of the elderly pagan, in buoyant genius, ascending everywhere. We can admire Cicero, as Augustine certainly did, yet read him as something exotic and foreign. In Augustine we read something exotic, turning familiar, such that his distance from Cicero is greater than Augustine’s distance from us. And the oldest Irish verses are on this side of that mysterious divide.
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Once I became proficient at Twenty Questions, I strengthened my resolve to become masterful. To do so, I needed to become a skillful inquisitor and to combine that with my analytical nature and interpersonal skills, all of which are vital for success in Twenty Questions. Because I had been debating politics with my friends since the 8th grade, I recognized that debate could sharpen these skills. I began to debate more frequently (and later more effectively) in English and government class, at the lunch table and family gatherings, and whenever the opportunity presented itself. This spurred in me an interest for how public policy and government work, leading me to attend Boys State and receive a nomination for The United States Senate Youth Program.
To my childhood self, Timothy’s was my bridge to Terabithia. In this world, I’ve been a resident of Dr. Seuss’s topsy-turvy Thneedville an acrobat, weaving words into webs with Charlotte and a palace spy in Wonderland, fighting for my life in a game of flamingo croquet. Braving these adventures instilled in me a sense of invincibility that pushed me to tackle new experiences, even engaging in mischievous absurdities, both in this world and reality.
Early Irish poetry can be disorienting, to a poor modernist like me. I refer to verse from the sixth to ninth centuries, in Gaelic and in Latin (often with an irrepressible brogue) what the Irish call “Old,” to distinguish from their “Mediaeval” verse in the tenth through, say, the seventeenth century. Ireland is special in that way having in some sense invented Europe, she then became aloof, ignoring Renaissance and Reformation. Hence a modernity which becomes fully apparent only in the eighteenth century. But this is merely to arrange our file folders.
My classmates accepted his advice and I watched as they attempted to make sense of the lifeless apples and pears that lay on the desk in front of them. I, too, clamped my left eye shut, pretending that this technique altered my view in the same manner it affected my peers. It didn’t. With one eye closed, my fruit appeared precisely the same as it had with both eyes open.
Ultimately, artists could use my instrument to make music from anything that moves: dancers onstage, migrating birds, traffic at a busy intersection. It would not only close the gap between the conception and realization of music, but it could open new creative pathways that combine music and motion. As for me, I look forward to performing on an empty stage, directing an invisible orchestra with the flick of my wrist.