Sunday, May 14, 2006

Spirit
Beware grand solutions

From Tim Caggiano, your blogstress's comrade in creative chaos, comes this missive, written in response to last Sunday's Spirit feature, which focused on Curtis White's genius piece in the April issue of Harper's, titled "The Spirit of Disobedience: An Invitation to Resistance."

On the extreme right we have the fear-mongering people of the word -- the church, the legal dogmatists and fundamentalists avec/sans head wrap. Take B-16 [Pope Benedict XVI],who early in his reign took troubles to denounce situationalists or anyone else with a little intellectual imagination.

On the liberal left we have rationalist, humanist, big-D Democrats with utopian sugarplums a-dance in their heads. Some good ideas -- but, oh, those pesky unforseen circumstances.

What's a mother to do? Well why not dredge the Bible, starting from jump. Adam and Eve get the boot from Eden for being too big for their intellectual britches. Trying to play God, for God's sake. Would that our presumptive leaders would digest that morsel of humility when they foist upon us (pass on the tab, to boot) for grand schemae. Democracy for Iraq? Peace talks for pathological squabblers...

There are scads of great principles to be mined in the sacred texts of religion, even the great ranters, from Jefferson to Marx (Karl, not Zeppo.) Accumulated wisdom is a powerful vane to the wind of thought. And Imagination bermed with common sense can lead to swell solutions. Beware grand solutions, drawn from precedent or cut from whole cloth.

--T.C.

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