Grow Mercy’s year-end list of unwarranted propositions–revised and ready for 2017


  • I believe that words, in moments of grace, as Elie Wiesel said, can attain the quality of deeds;
  • that despite the crazed magnificence of our vanities, our screwy obsessions and our generally clingy, messed-up lives, our deepest desire is to be each other’s joy;
  • that our inner void—that shadowy thing at our heels that yawns like a canyon when we’re silent and alone—must not be leapt over, but into;
  • that you can love the earth and not love God, but you can’t love God without loving the earth;
  • that quantum entanglement may be one more name for God;
  • that mycelium, like the cosmos, will remain mysterious, likewise the mind;
  • that the mind is not separate from the body (except perhaps for Benny Hinn, certain psychics, and a few thousand French revolutionaries);
  • that the big bang is not an event but a model failing to describe our beginnings but succeeding somewhat to describe our oneness;
  • that a sock prefers the single life;
  • that poetry can slow time, reanimate a capacity for surprise, and give back one’s being ;
  • that snowflakes are the ghosts of fallen leaves;
  • that sidewalks long to be broken up by grass;
  • that grass under stone dreams of sun;
  • that should you get anything absolutely right in life, it is critical you go back to correct it;
  • that if scientists were mere sceptics we still wouldn’t know about the Copernican system of planetary movement (without which our hubris would have gone unchallenged);
  • that beauty is intoxicating, and laughter is champagne;
  • that when the impulse to go walking strikes, follow it;
  • that doubt is necessary and healthy but that the spirit of scepticism is a sickness;
  • that most things we hold as true are by way of other authorities, so it’s critical we pick our mentors well;
  • that it was exalted certainty that sent the boxcars to Birkenau and not iffy disconsolate minds—which is to say that the primary reason the world is terrifying is because of fundamentalism—in any of its forms;
  • that to live without faith (fundamentalism being the furthest thing from faith) is impossible, and to attempt it is a castration of life;
  • that there are fish swimming around with coins in their mouths, but we still have to go get our nets;
  • that imagination stands on its own, but reason without imagination is dead;
  • that in wonder or blunder, we receive our lives through the eyes of others;
  • that the cosmic weirdness of grace means God loves Mr. Trump as much as your child…and that the cosmic weirdness of mercy means that “Donald” may yet find correction and direction—which brings us to the cosmic weirdness of hope;
  • that a cultural obsession with sex is not a sign of social depravity but an indication of deep loneliness;
  • that if and when we humans become fully real we will no longer impose ourselves upon creation but see ourselves as one aspect;
  • that we are all beautiful tellurians—all in your own way;
  • that science is humble in theory but not so much in practice and that this is what it has in common with religion;
  • that reason needs a trellis, faith needs a frame and theology needs poetry;
  • that both the existence and non-existence of God can be proven by symbolic logic—and a formally valid argument can nevertheless be false;
  • that the argument of infinite regression is absurd, and the world rests on the backs of an untold succession of turtles;
  • that positive universal claims and negative existential claims are not testable in all possible worlds—and all ravens are black, except for one or two, maybe;
  • that presuppositions are held viscerally and emotionally and half-consciously, and are located in the kidneys;
  • that God is a verb and not a noun;
  • that the word piffle can be appropriately applied to a plethora of propositions—including several of these;
  • that things repair themselves if they are unplugged for a while, including humans;
  • that our deepest and dearest beliefs are not logically verifiable, and if they were, life would cease to be;
  • that Simone Weil was speaking wisdom when she said, “Every separation is a link”;
  • that miracle is still the best word to describe life’s origin;
  • that love and mercy are stronger than hate and violence, which pretty much sums up Jesus;
  • that Friedrich Holderlin was brightly shining in his wooden tower when he wrote, “But where danger is / grows the saving power also”;
  • that hope trumps fear, and apokatastasis trumps apocalypse;
  • that time is not a line, but folds, bends, winds, swirls, and has a thousand shapes we move in and through and that death, while hard, hard, hard, is just one of those shapes;
  • that love is not discovered like some gleaming gem at the top of a mountain, but comes to find us in all the fractured layers of our lives;
  • that (paraphrasing Abraham Herschel), the older I get, the less I admire clever people, and the more I admire kind people;
  • that yesterday I knew many great and grand principles of life, but today all I know is that a hug can be healing.



Happy New Year dear ones!




  1. Thank you, Stephen…others were naming lines that spoke to them and I will do the same.
    “that our inner void—that shadowy thing at our heels that yawns like a canyon when we’re silent and alone—must not be leapt over, but into”
    Yes, into, where we find and learn to love ourselves!
    And the line “poetry can give back one’s being” Yes!
    Blessings on your new year and on all the poems as yet unwritten and as yet unthought.

  2. “Warranted” or unwarranted, you’ve had my pondering attention for the last three days, including the rearview mirror.

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