16.

Architecture – Looking – Parties – Pilgrims – Keys – Stones – Patterns – Conclusion, a story (The following is a work of satire. The people and events depicted, including those based on real people and events, are all entirely fictional.)

*****

During this year of hypervigilance, I have often failed to pay attention to the things I care about the most, and I have rarely—for maybe a night or a day, if I was lucky—found the comfort I sought in sacrificing them to keep so well informed. On the other hand, that’s not to say I didn’t learn things, important things, in the midst of this daily flood of bad news and commentary; it’s just they were things I should have known already.

There are parts of Coherence I wouldn’t write the same if I were to write them today. I’ve been tempted to change or get rid of a few. But the whole structure of the Notes was planned under the assumption that my mind would continue to change as I wrote each volume (I got the idea when I read somewhere how Auden, toward the end of his long life, reworked so many of his early poems to conform to his later views, with mixed results), and that it would be better to directly confront my own bad ideas and opinions than to pretend I never had them. In any case, it would feel dishonest to try and hide my stupidity now.

And, as long as we’re on the subject of my intellectual failures, I should admit that Conclusion doesn’t stand alone as well as I would have liked it to; though its main function is really to serve as a bridge between Pure Land and next month’s story. They were all conceived as part of a continuing if irregular series. Hopefully it will get better.

Next issue: January 2nd

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