6.23 Update: The little old guy is dead. I found him in my hallway this morning; he had hidden in a closet overnight and stumbled out. He was like a little rag doll, but still breathing. Wouldn't drink water or make any noise. I wrapped him in towels, called his owner, who came from work and took him to the vet, but he was too far gone. His temperature was 4 degrees below normal. Fifteen years old, actually. I'll miss him, even though he liked to sit right on my laptop keyboard. Here he is as he was in better days:
And, this may be TMI, I am almost, but not quite, recovered from some bacterial invasion which settled in my lower GI tract. Musta been two dozen trips to the throne in a 12-hour overnight period.
Tiring. If not mortality, then a reminder of what the flesh is heir to. (That's Shakespeare as well.)
Watched some more of the Why Does Evil Exist? series with my friend Bill. Rabbinic Judaism and Islam on evil. Amazingly, for a people whose history is loaded with disaster, Jews have largely hewn to a pretty mundane approach to human badness as a natural inclination to selfishness that you can kind of expect from a finite creature. Until the Holocaust. Which has made some of them wonder if the "cosmic, metaphysical and melodramatic" approach of Christianity to evil might not have some merit.
The lecture on Islam focused on a Quranic story of Iblis, the Muslim Satan. I am no fan of the Quran, as you might expect, but this re-telling of the primeval fall in heaven is quite rich.
11. It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bow down.Shocks natural and supernatural.
12. ((Allah)) said: "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay."
13. ((Allah)) said: "Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures)."
14. He said: "Give me respite till the day they are raised up."
15. ((Allah)) said: "Be thou among those who have respite."
16. He said: "Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way:
17. "Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies)."
18. ((Allah)) said: "Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee,- Hell will I fill with you all.