Fred Owens, photographed last week, in front of the building on our Alma Mater campus (St. Michael's College, University of Toronto) where Marshall McLuhan had his office.
Alan: Reading between your lines Fred, I see that your fondness for Queen Elizabeth is not that she's perfect - quite the contrary - but that she's such a better person than who the neo-Pharisees who think they're perfect, or at least on "Perfection's Godly Team."
As I age, I grow increasingly aware that the world's problems are disproportionately attributable to "absolutist humans" who think they (and/or their "God") have not only the right, but the duty, to visit pain, mutilation, death and "eternal hellfire" on "infidels," a loosey-goosey category of non-believers that distills to "the other guy" - the guy who is "not like me."
Of the three quotations I circulate most frequently, the following passage by Trappist monk, Fr. Thomas Merton, is in competition for top spot: "The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice. The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization. We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal. Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good. The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.” "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” by Thomas Merton
" Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good. The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”
The other two competitors for most frequently circulated quotations originated with Blaise Pascal and Jesuit priest Tom Weston S.J.