20 April 2016

Small thought about the oldness of an holy text

This image is a detail from the cover of a library item; I placed it here on a whim, just at random; it has nothing to do with the post.

Also, after I misspelled “diary” below, instead of fixing it, I added the phrase “farmer Bryan” afterwards, because my name is Bryan and I thought that that would be funny. Therefore, please laugh.

Dear dairy farmer Bryan,

Is poetry like a fine wine that improves with age? Or, like certain foods, do poems eventually expire? Take the King James Bible, as an instance of a book that contains an amount of poetry: Does its ancientness increase or decrease the value of its text? Maybe there’s no hard rule—some writings gain in strength as they grow old, while others were better on the day when they were composed. The passage of time can enhance a writing’s obscurity, and this can be considered as either beautiful or annoying.

A man once told me that the Bible is “the only good book.” When I asked Why’s that? he explained “It contains the entirety of history, from the world’s creation to its future destruction.” I gathered from this that all other books are bad because they do not say the same things as the Bible. Later I did find some books that spoke of similar stuff—creation, destruction—but perhaps what these other books said, or the way that they said it, was somehow inferior. I wish I would’ve had the foresight to ask the man to elaborate on his claim.

But, on second thought, why should I hold any man’s judgment as superior to my own? I too have read the Bible—what is my own professional judgment? I like parts of it very much, and other parts not so much. So I wouldn’t say that it’s the only “good book.”

A bully on the playground coerces an innocent bystander to dine with him. A man persuades a stranger to accept THE TRUE GOD. (I almost wrote “lures a fellow youth to smoke a cigarette,” but that seemed formulaic.) It’s all so boring that it registers as genuinely fun.

I want to say a few more things, to bulk up this entry; but I’m out of ideas, so I’ll brainstorm. Green spinach leaves. Caramel brandywine. I worry too much about strokes and heart attacks: it would be better for me to enjoy what time remains of the life that I have (and I’m presently in good health, as far as I know); for whatever is waiting to blot me out in the future will surely find me—it does not need to be lured forth like a tiger from an alleyway. And what if a man-eating houseplant were to escape from the zoo?


Today I read this essay by Montaigne:

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