Friday, January 20, 2006


It's been quite a nice day. After all the troubles of last few weeks, a deus ex machina solved most of the problems today morning. And then I find this essay on the New York Times. Made my day. Simply brilliant.

What mysterious cruelty in the human soul, to have invented despair as a sin! Like the seven deadly sins, despair is a mythical state. It has no quantifiable existence; it is merely part of an allegorical world view, yet no less lethal for that. Unlike other sins, however, despair is by tradition the sole sin that cannot be forgiven; it is the conviction that one is damned absolutely, thus a repudiation of the Christian Saviour and a challenge to God's infinite capacity for forgiveness. The sins for which one may be forgiven -- pride, anger, lust, sloth, avarice, gluttony, envy -- are all firmly attached to the objects of this world, but despair seems to bleed out beyond the confines of the immediate ego-centered self and to relate to no desire, to no thing. The alleged sinner has detached himself even from the possibility of sin, and this the Catholic Church, as the self-appointed voice of God on earth, cannot allow.

The full essay here.


km said...

Hey, hey, Ms. Oates is practically a neighbor. We share the same zipcode, so there :)) (Though I've yet to spot her when walking around Princeton campus.) this deus ex machina on sale this weekend at the Target? God knows I need one :)

have a good weekend,


Alok said...

You don't buy deus ex machina from a supermarket. You wait for it. That's why it is called deus ex machina :)

I didn't know Joyce Oates taught at Princeton!