The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

troublesome phrase

with 5 comments

It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The humans are quarrelsome and troubling creatures in my opinion, given to irrational ideas. Worship of imaginary sky fathers is just one of these ideations which annoy me, and if you follow current events, the practice causes no small amount of trouble. If there is a “god,” my perception and description of it would be that of an extra dimensional and utterly alien being who deigns to sit in judgement over the natives of this planet which is given to random fits of pique that are expressed as extreme weather events. Personally, a humble narrator doesn’t cling to the idea that some “thing” in the sky is watching over me, other than the omnipresent mechanisms launched by certain global military super powers. To each his own, I guess, but I for one am fairly tired of having my lack of neolithic era superstitions seen as some sort of moral turpitude. One goes out of his way to not impose my beliefs upon others in violent or aggressive ways, which seems to be at odds with those who “believe.” If “faith” is so fragile that you need to murder others to prove it, or shun those who follow a different path – exactly what kind of God are you worshipping? Best to get yourself a better God then the one you’ve got, one who will give you what you want or need – I’d suggest Dagon, Cthulhu, or Lucifer in that case. You’d probably have the best run with Lucifer, if the lifestyle of the Rolling Stones or Jimmy Page are any sort of indication. At any rate, I don’t care what you think or believe, unless it affects me or you start trying to proselytize about it. I never inject my personal opinions about this sort of thing on the true believers, but they are always trying to do the opposite and evangelize me. That’s rude, in my version of morality.

Somehow, this little polemic was conjured up in my mind by the image of that horned pickup in the shot above, a cool car spotted on the streets of Astoria, Queens recently while a humble narrator was enjoying a pint of beer with friends at the local pub. The horned God, in the belief systems of Eurasia, is traditionally the foeman of the sky father. Jung and others described this imagery in terms of the “denied herd leader or gelded bull,” and it emerged during the early days of farming – as did Beer, oddly enough.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While my fellow Astorians and I spent a couple of enjoyable Sunday afternoon hours quaffing beer and discussing the events of the day, another Astoria Hullabaloo sprung up when a Consolidated Edison crew arrived and began to cordon off the corner of 42nd street at Broadway. They were installing electrical equipment into a street vault. The Con Ed guys were busy, but quite an affable group and they bemoaned the fact that they had to work and couldn’t join in with our festivities. I wonder which God they’d worship if we lived in pagan times?

The Saint of Electrical Workers (text lifted from Wikipedia) is probably “Saint Eligius (also Eloy or Loye) (French: Éloi) (c. 588 – 1 December 660) is the patron saint of goldsmiths, other metalworkers, and coin collectors. He is also the patron saint of veterinarians, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), a corps of the British Army, but he is best known for being the patron saint of horses and those who work with them.” There’s also a traditional Catholic association of electrical workers with Santa Lucia, but she’s more generally connected to artillery men as the lightning bolt in her story actually killed someone. Additionally, St. Elmo is often associated with electrical workers, and there’s a whole contingent of saints competing for the affections of those who work up on utility poles.

Santa Veronica is the patron saint of Photographers, incidentally. Also, from Wikipedia – “According to Church tradition, Veronica was moved with pity when she saw Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha and gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offering, held it to his face, and then handed it back to her—the image of his face miraculously impressed upon it. This piece of cloth became known as the Veil of Veronica.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rabbit holes are an existential hazard for me, so…

The Patron Saint of the United States in the Roman Catholic tradition is Mary, in her guise as “Our Lady of the immaculate conception.” Saint Patrick is in charge of the Archdiocese of New York, in case you were wondering. The diocese of Brooklyn (and Queens, thank you), is part of the ecclesial parish of the larger Archdiocese, so presumptively they’ve got St. Pat too. Helps to explain why you see so few “actual” snakes slithering around, but puzzles as to why there are so many of the two legged variety hereabouts.

Not too sure about the other big churches and faiths, and I don’t want to start a research paper on this, so we’ll just end that thought.

Wonder what the patron deity of NYC would be, if we followed the model of the old Greek city states. Mammon, probably. Thoughts? Post ’em in the comments section.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

June 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. Maybe Saint Jude is natural for NYC as patron saint of lost causes.

    maplesugarkat

    June 7, 2017 at 11:27 am

  2. As it is clear that you are referring to recent Islamic jihadist attacks. I would dispute your assertion that they are done through lack of faith, or need to prove faith, in Allah but rather through a strong faith that the words of Allah as transcribed by the prophet Mohammed are a clear, direct and inviolable canon. And the jihadists themselves do make this clear and that they were only following orders as it were.

    However, I am inclined to ponder this from a perspective of magick which I will present only as a academic subject. The blood sacrifice and to a greater degree, the human sacrifice to a deity are extremely potent spells intended to grant the operator, or whomever else he designates as the recipient, great powers of their request. However, I would highly doubt the followers of the Religion of Peace would admit to this practice if not outright condemn it but I am no expert on the subject perhaps they should clarify this themselves.

    Now I am not inclined to accept that these magick practices as having any basis in reality or will yield any tangible results but I must note how curious it is that western European and American leaders (and their peoples as well) seem to be rendered helpless in the face of these attacks and consistently demure to the Islamists.
    Just as I note that you yourself, Humble Narrator, will only refer to them obliquely through inference.
    Maybe there is something to magick after all.

    On the subject of deity, at least as defined by the Abrahamic religions, there can be three positions taken: Theist, atheist and agnostic. Of the three, agnostic is the only rational position based on materialist/scientific empirical evidence. God can neither be scientifically proven nor conclusively refuted as there is not enough evidence as a complete and indisputable scientific description of the creation of the universe and the genesis of life can be given. Into the gaps and lacking data or explainable mechanisms, any theory is plausible. Science and logic are about provable facts, not at all about belief which is intrinsic to faith.

    Therefore both theist and atheist positions require faith and belief. Whereas the theist may be mocked for fear of his own mortality in dreaming of an immortal afterlife pending the judgement of the deity, the atheist is a faith based believer in the opposite direction and is in fact a poltroon too frightened to be judged in the afterlife. He expresses his own faith and feigns courage through his blustering and militant opposition to believers.
    The agnostic doesn’t know if there is or isn’t a god(s) nor does he care and is the more courageous and logically consistent position. One has to admire the gambling man.
    To dismissively pass off the subject with such terms as”sky god”, “invisible sky man”, etc, is inane and reductionist.

    Don Cavaioli

    Cav

    June 7, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    • Leonard Peikoff on the “cowardice” of the agnostic:

      [There is] a widespread approach to ideas which Objectivism repudiates altogether: agnosticism. I mean this term in a sense which applies to the question of God, but to many other issues also, such as extra-sensory perception or the claim that the stars influence man’s destiny. In regard to all such claims, the agnostic is the type who says, “I can’t prove these claims are true, but you can’t prove they are false, so the only proper conclusion is: I don’t know; no one knows; no one can know one way or the other.”
      The agnostic viewpoint poses as fair, impartial, and balanced. See how many fallacies you can find in it. Here are a few obvious ones: First, the agnostic allows the arbitrary into the realm of human cognition. He treats arbitrary claims as ideas proper to consider, discuss, evaluate—and then he regretfully says, “I don’t know,” instead of dismissing the arbitrary out of hand. Second, the onus-of-proof issue: the agnostic demands proof of a negative in a context where there is no evidence for the positive. “It’s up to you,” he says, “to prove that the fourth moon of Jupiter did not cause your sex life and that it was not a result of your previous incarnation as the Pharaoh of Egypt.” Third, the agnostic says, “Maybe these things will one day be proved.” In other words, he asserts possibilities or hypotheses with no jot of evidential basis.
      The agnostic miscalculates. He thinks he is avoiding any position that will antagonize anybody. In fact, he is taking a position which is much more irrational than that of a man who takes a definite but mistaken stand on a given issue, because the agnostic treats arbitrary claims as meriting cognitive consideration and epistemological respect. He treats the arbitrary as on a par with the rational and evidentially supported. So he is the ultimate epistemological egalitarian: he equates the groundless and the proved. As such, he is an epistemological destroyer. The agnostic thinks that he is not taking any stand at all and therefore that he is safe, secure, invulnerable to attack. The fact is that his view is one of the falsest—and most cowardly—stands there can be.

      georgetheatheist . . me no poltroon

      June 7, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      • Hi George.

        First off, let me say that I am in fact a devout Roman Catholic, not an agnostic, and I am not in fact carrying water for the agnostic cause. In your comment, which is an obvious response to my previous one, you have not in fact, refuted the ideas I presented nor did you point to any specific logical fallacies that I have committed in my post. But you have made a few logical fallacies which I will illustrate.

        The first is the genetic fallacy in that you have set about defining the agnostic on your own terms. In doing so, you deflected away from the actual point of the argument that in a strictly scientific sense, that which cannot be empirically proven fact must be accepted as a matter of faith or belief (and I will deal with the remainder of my argument regarding courage in beliefs presently).

        The agnostic, as you have defined, as proposing alternative theories and demanding refutation, taking positions so as not to antagonize anyone and the rest, is not an agnostic or skeptic by any real definition of the terms. You are confusing gnosticism and sophistry with agnosticism to create a strawman to be knocked down in the name of Objectivism, which is itself a flawed philosophy- a subject for another time. The other fallacies here are mere rhetorical hand waving, appeal to authority and simple assertion.

        In another example of logical fallacy you wrote ““I can’t prove these claims are true, but you can’t prove they are false, so the only proper conclusion is: I don’t know; no one knows; no one can know one way or the other.”” as if there were wrong with it by placing it in a reductio ad absurdum in matters that can be experimentally verified or falsified. however when there is insufficient information to form a conclusion, this is a completely logical statement and does nothing to prove your point.

        The agnostic or skeptic demands proof from the one who presents the theory. If you were to argue that a refusal to accept a premise in general as a matter of faith (i.e. lack of physical proof) is a matter of moral cowardice, courage or neither, then I would accept that as a debatable subject. But that is not the context in which I proposed the agnostic’s courage.

        In regards to courage of beliefs, to restate: I was specifically referring to courage in belief, or not, in God in which there is a presumed postmortem judgement of the one’s sins and virtues during their life with eternal consequences.

        I stated the theist is the coward for fearing oblivion after their death but is brave enough to face divine judgement with eternal consequences.

        The atheist is brave enough to accept the complete annihilation of consciousness after death, a one time event, but would be of a greater level of cowardice than the theist in fearing eternal consequences of divine judgement which is a permanent on-going event.

        I would then hold the agnostic of religion to be braver than either the theist or atheist in that he is willing to face either oblivion or is unafraid answer to God for his actions in life.

        If you wish further debate on this topic, please stay within the above stated theses.

        Finally, I ask that you accept this comment as not a negative one but in the spirit of debate, that I do in fact respect you and enjoy your comments both here and at Queenscrap.

        Cheers
        Don Cavaioli

        Cav

        June 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm

  3. Cav: It is a known fact that epistemologically speaking when the atheist croaks and his soul stands in front of the heavenly gatekeeper, St. Peter, that the atheist alone will be permitted entry into “thy kingdom come”. All believers and agnostics will be relegated to relive their lives via reincarnation. “You, the atheist, are alone permitted to enter through the gates,”,:St. Peter will say, “because you alone have used your reason and denied the existence of God – or god -or gods – whatever or whomever that means. All the other epistemologically challenged will have to start over at Square One as dung beetles.”

    Ciao,
    GtheA

    PS Where does the deist fit in the atheist-agnostic-theist triad?

    georgetheatheist

    June 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm


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