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Alchemies of church & bookstore, French Open court & gardens

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — two instances of somewhat unexpected balance ]

Here, first, something you’ve already seen — the Maastricht bookstore in a restored church, arguably an instance of word being made flesh:

and the gardens now surrounding the clay court on which the French Open is played:



  • Marcus Fairs, A shop in a church by Merkx + Girod Architecten
  • Gerald Marzorati, How the French Turned a Tennis Court Into a Garden
  • **

    I say alchemy because marriages of hard and soft, above and below, word and flesh, have it in common that they bridge significant metaphysical divides — like the fall of the Berlin wall, to take a political equivalent within living memory — and thus perform a healing work.

    Tikkun olam.

    John Brennan & Jay Forrester, George Kennan & Isaac Luria

    Friday, December 12th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron — a little something on torture and our knowledge of causality, also man the microcosm in diplo-politics ]

    With John Brennan talking about the “unknowable” causality between what I choose to call torture and what I am content to call the elicitation of actionable intelligence (upper panel, below) — not that I claim any originality to either of those phrasings — I was forced to remind myself of Jay Forrester‘s comments on causality (lower panel) — comments which amount to a warning against simplistic thinking and easy explanations:

    SPEC unknowables

    The human psyche is indeed “complex”, and perhaps more inscrutable than the term “complexity” itself suggests.


    But that was not all: Director Brennan also entered into my own preferred realms of anthropology, psychology and theology, and spoke to the divided nature of our humanity:

    But we are not a perfect institution. We’re made up of individuals. And as human beings, we are imperfect beings.

    That in turn overlapped with another DoubleQuote I was formulating at the time, this one juxtaposing a comment about George Kennan with the Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria‘s concepts of the Shattering of the Vessels and the Repair of the World.

    Kennan’s chapter heading (as quoted by Joseph Epstein in the upper panel, below) refers to the microcosm:

    SPEC cracked vessels

    It seems only appropriate to me to note that the Ari provides us with its macrocosmic equivalent — and also, under the name Tikkun Olam (repair of the world), a sense of what is now required of us.

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