Friday, February 16, 2007



I think a fuse in my brain just blew. And nobody else is likely to understand why. But here's my attempt at an explanation.

Jack Whelan just said this:

The encounter with the Christ is an experience of insemination in the Matthew 13 sense (parable of sower, mustard seed, etc.). This seed has a subversive effect within the soul life of those who are inseminated, and they find that if they nurture its germination in the right way, a new regime grows within.

This was a marginal point within his post about postmodern Catholicism.

Now briefly: The idea of "seed" is an ancient idea, an archetype that goes way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way back. It may be so old that it's actually genetic rather than just memetic. It's all tied up with life and death, with dying to live again, with harvest gods, with Jesus, with sex. And, as hinted at in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, the idea of seed is all tied up with modern things, too, particularly potentially world-changing technologies such as genetics and nanotech.

Another primary theme in The Diamond Age is subversiveness ... the idea that things change for the better primarily because of tiny changes that happen out of public view, and perhaps in opposition to public norms.

Those two ideas rattle around in my head fairly often. I know they're really important ideas, but I'm not sure why. So anything that talks about "seed" or "subversion" will light up my pattern-matcher.

Particularly things that also talk about "Matthew", and my lucky number, "13".



kelly said...

you should check out simone weil - gravity and grace for an interesting take on the issue of a seed.

Matthew said...

Thanks, Kelly. I'll be sure to check it out.

Steve said...

Simone Weil. I keep seeing wonderful, pithy quotes all over the internet from her. Will have to investigate as well.

Paul said...

I always liked that parable but applying the word "regime" makes me nervous... I guess that's sort of what's happened. The seed was planted in George Bush and right wing Christians and we got exactly that: a flourishing new regime.

Maybe you need to change that "lucky" number of yours? Is all this your fault?

Matthew said...

ooh, new picture for paul. I like it, it makes you look kind of monkish. monastic?