javadvent calendar day 16

December 16, 2009

[On a masturbation] As I record this now, however, I wonder why I didn't think through more of the possibilities. Why did I assume that God, if He was watching, necessarily disapproved of how I was spilling my seed? Why did it not occur to me that if the sky did not fall in as it witnessed my zealous and unflagging self-abuse, this might be because the sky did not judge it a sin? Nor did I have the imagination to conceive of my dead ancestors equally smiling on my actions: go on, my son, enjoy it while you've got it, there won't be much more of that once you're a disembodied spirit, so have another one for us. Perhaps Grandpa would have taken his celestial pipe out of his mouth and whispered complicitly, "I once knew a very nice girl called Mabel."
Julian Barnes, "Nothing to be Frightened Of".
Man, it's been a long time since I've read such a well crafted book.
We should think more about it, and accustom ourselves to the thought of death. We can't allow the fear of death to creep up on us unexpectedly. We have to make the fear familiar, and one way is to write about it. I don't think writing and thinking about death is characteristic only of old men. I think that if people began thinking about death sooner, they'd make fewer foolish mistakes.

He even had a dry run at the deathbed utterance. "The last time I nearly died, my almost last words were, 'Make sure that Ben gets my copy of Bekker's Aristotle.'" He adds that his wife found this "insufficiently affectionate."
Julian Barnes on his brother's (philosopher Jonathan Barnes') near-death experiences.

Waiting for God to reveal himself, I believe that his prime minister, Chance, governs this sad world just as well.
Stendhal - 10 Business Lessons I Learned from Playing Dungeons & Dragons:
God, with a sword, can make a man a king. But a king, with a sword, can only make a man a knight. A knight, with a sword, can make a man a corpse. So... I kind of forgot where I was going there.
Wondermark - just donated to Beau's virtual Salvation Army Christmas kettle. Still a grueling time for charities - give if you can!