Terrance Lindall on "Satan's Peculiar Grace"
A couple of weeks ago, Bienvenido Bones Banez gave an extemporaneous piano recital, "The Satanic Rhapsody," followed by Terrance Lindall expounding, also extemporaneously, on the "peculiar graces" of Satan in extrapolating from Bien's now-famous dictum, that "Satan gives color to the world!"
Bien's statement sounds rather disturbing, initially, but Lindall sets it within the context of the quasi-orthodox position known as the felix culpa, or "fortunate fall." The basic idea is that without Satan's role in bringing about the fall, Christ would never have taken on flesh to take on humankind's sins, but in order for Satan to 'cooperate' with God's aims -- whatever Satan's intentions -- Satan has to be graced by God with certain gifts, Satan's peculiar graces.
Lindall opens with a gambit that plays on Steve Fallon's views about John Milton's peculiar grace, and since the video was finally put up on YouTube, I took the time to transcribe Lindall's extemporaneous talk:
Milton's peculiar grace was the fact that he always wrote about himself so much, and of course he was the great inspiration for truth. He said truth on any battlefield against any foe will prevail.There were questions and Lindall's further extrapolations on his concept of Satan's peculiar graces, but I didn't have time or energy to transcribe those. After I first watched the video, I wrote Lindall a note:
Now, when Bien came here a few years ago, he inspired me with a saying of his. He said, "Satan gives color to the world." Well, what does that mean exactly? It means that all of the strife and everything in the world inspires poets, writers, artists. If you go to a museum, you'll see a lot of that. If you read a book, books from the sixteenth-century on, it's all about conflict and war, love and hatred, and all these things, competition -- well, that's Satan-inspired.
Can you imagine if this were God's perfect world, if you had everything you wanted, good food, place to rest, no problems, no pain, live forever? You could live as vegetables! Imagine that! So, Satan's peculiar grace is that he has given you something to aspire to, to compete with. He's the adrenaline rush in your blood, and he also gives you great literature talking about the struggles you have, and so that is Satan's peculiar grace. It's a grace given to you by Satan.
Also, something else in the history of religious philosophy, there was something called the "fortunate fall." Does anybody know what the fortunate fall is? Ah (pointing to man in audience), here's one scholar. The fortunate fall is . . . because man has fallen, we have been given the grace of Christ being born into the world, and Christ, of course, is sacrificing himself for your good, supposedly. He has taken all your sins upon him[self], that you might be redeemed. That's the fortunate fall of man, the fortunate fall of Adam and Eve from the garden. They had to be redeemed, and Christ did that. That's the fortunate fall.
So, just recently, I came up with a hair-raising idea. Well, every year at Christmas -- and I know some of you aren't Christians -- but every year at Christmas, we should thank Satan because Satan has caused Christ to be born into the world, so let's thank Satan as well as God for giving us Christ.
Of course, I got a letter from a professor in South Korea who said, "Why, that's hair-raising, that's nearly heretical!" And of course, it's not. And I'll tell you why. Everybody should be thinking about ideas and things. If you're Jewish or Catholic or Muslim or whatever, you should actually be thinking about your religion, not just following it, because I do believe that knowledge, supposedly given to man when Adam and Eve bit into the apple, is a good thing, and I also believe . . . I also believe that, ultimately, knowledge is the savior of mankind, whether you believe in a mythology of religion or whether you believe that religion is exactly the truth of the world, I believe man will be redeemed through knowledge.
And it's coming to understand yourself. Accommodate yourself to the world. Accommodate yourself peaceably with other men. And that's our struggle right now, accommodating ourselves with the different cultures around the world, the different religions, accommodating ourselves to build a better world. And that's what Yuko's idea is all about: Peace, Harmony, and Unity. And that's her idea. It comes from a Japanese concept, of wah, which is what WAH means, WAH Center.
And we created recently the Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters, which is a very intellectual organization. We have people on it like Arthur Danto, the famous art critic, probably the most outstanding art critic or commentator of the twentieth century. He's now ninety years old. We also have the former president of St. Bonaventure University, who's probably the foremost Milton scholar, apart from Steve Fallon, and he formed the largest Milton collection in the world, of which of course I'm part. But it's an outstanding scholarly group.
Bien is one of the members, and so, it's not a thing [only] about knowledge. We're pursuing knowledge, we're finding out about how literature intersects with the arts. And you can look it up on the internet.
Meanwhile, do you have any questions?
Good talk, Terrance. Your gestures show the peculiar grace of good public speakers. I was especially impressed that you could speak well extemporaneously despite the distractions of people walking through, people talking, and infants crying.And I asked:
Is there a transcript?There wasn't. There is now . . .