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"No amount of speculation can take the place of experience." - Charles Sanders Peirce

"No amount of speculation can take the place of experience." - Charles Sanders Peirce (CP 1.653)

A man brought low by immense inner failings and what seems, as we look back, by the hand of destiny, took Episcopal communion at the age of 52 and was utterly changed. He had already said, from the well of his genius speculations, much of what became a body of work that rocks the world 100 years after his death, things that intellectually parsed with this experience. But he had never felt reality taking control of him. He had never experienced the frightening and redemptive hand of grace. He had never fallen to a speculation so outlandish that it is to millions a laughing stock in this time, The experience of the real does not come up  much in the discussions of Peirce that I see. It is less secure territory than reflection on the nuances of one, two and three and what goes where. I note this statement of Peirce because, on its face, it is the pragmaticist maxim in a nutshell. Three times in my life I have felt and known this grip of the real. What is uncanny is that the third time it came following an enervating nonstop time in which I helped a young woman through her separation from a friend. It occurred during an Episcopal communion. Its palpable effects - a sense of freedom beyond anything I have known before or since - lasted through the summer. There was one difference worth noting. For Peirce this experience did not lead him into church life but rather into the knowledge that he would bear a cross outside the camp, as it were. So in 1892, after already enduring the humiliations resulting from his collisions with the university, with the government and with the culture of bourgeois censure, he received assurance that, even in this seemingly predestined exile, he would be given the strength to prevail. And like Nietzsche, prevail he did, as a posthumous author, powered by the actual reality of transubstantiation, the very reality which physics now contemplates as it considers the  prospect that at some point there was nothing.

The Slow as Molasses Press

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The remarkable video at the link above is of a performance of "Sto perigiali" Mario Frangoulis and Mikis Theodorakis in 2001.

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This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.

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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…