Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dr. Thursday's Post

Required Lab Equipment (according to GKC, Dover, and Vatican II)

As you may have seen, I had some - uh - mechanical difficulties last
week, and I am not quite back to my normal arrangements. I do thank
those who pray for me, and hope you will continue, as I remember all
bloggers when I attend Mass on Mondays. (I had to switch from Thursdays,
and I expect to switch back shortly.)

Yes, our technical tools can be wonderful, but they can give
difficulties - and at present I am quite behind my work, so I will do
something silly for a change, and mention a book or two which GKC did
not read but would have enjoyed. We must, after all, bear in
mind that "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An
inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." [GKC ILN Jul 21
1906] as Bilbo Baggins found out. Read more.

Now, a journalist who writes a weekly newspaper column with bits like
How could physical science prove that man is not
depraved? You do not cut a man open to find his sins. You do not boil
him until he gives forth the unmistakable green fumes of depravity.
[GKC ILN Sep 28 1907 CW27:559]

would have to be completely amused at href="">this
Create Your Own Mad Scientist’s Laboratory...

Delightfully eerie laboratory comes complete with an antique pipe organ,
vampires, skeletons and other assorted monsters, plus a curious
collection of levers, chains, lightning bolts, a sack labeled "assorted
body parts" and more.
[from the Dover web site]
Now, since I myself once built a pipe organ in my parents'
basement (yes, I did!) I was completely delighted to see that Dover
considers a pipe organ to be an important part of the Modern Scientific
Laboratory (mad, or otherwise). We all know that it is standard
equipment on submarines. (See 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by
Jules Verne.) And even Vatican II stated that it was supposed to be
"held in high esteem" which "powerfully lifts up man's mind to God". We
all remember GKC's dictum that "the test of a good religion is whether
you can joke about it" - and the high esteem of pipe organs came in
handy when (in a Father Brown story) someone tried to explain how Father
Brown could play "mind games" with people. But Mr. Fenner, one of the
witnesses to the "Miracle of Moon Crescent", saw through that argument:
"Hang it," protested Fenner, "you don't think he walked down the
corridor carrying a church organ?"@

Dover has some books about pipe organs, in case you want to build one,
or play one - I might especially note the two-volume collection of
Widor's 10 organ symphonies, which are some very uplifting works. But
even more profound is the reality that one musician can control the
complex internal structure of the pipe organ - a truth so indicative of
deeper philosophical matters which GKC also proposed:
is really organised except an organism. We naturally use the terms of it
in an easier and more extensive fashion, just as the same word "organ,"
which is applied to the heart or the stomach, may also mean a
barrel-organ or a church organ. But we should be misled if we expected
from the barrel-organ the peculiar antics of the man or even the monkey.
The organ cannot invent a tune anymore than it can grow a tail. And such
things cannot be done merely by a social machine any more than by a
musical machine. In church the largest and most elaborate organ must
still depend upon the smallest and most minute organist. And, just as
mistakes may be made by the organist because he is a man, mistakes may
be made by the organiser because he is a man.
[GKC, ILN May 28 1921 CW32:176-7]

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