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· A Lonerganian Précis ·

You may be curious about our wedding weekend. Rest assured, everything went well. My wife Stylish and I can't be more pleased. Savvy Graceart joined our younger son Suave Saturday in marriage, and we two Stylechoices are agreed — they make a handsome pair.

Although we can't begin to describe a weekend stretching from Thursday's two-family meal to yesterday's gift-opening brunch, we can at least note Friday night's rehearsal toast. Being a garrulous philosopher, I am occasionally obliged to follow Thoreau's apt advice: "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!" (which my wife naturally calls a prelude to a K.I.S.S.). So I decided to clothe our toast in a single text (Bernard J. F. Lonergan's Insight) and a pair of matched Fruit-of-the-Loom T-shirts. Here's our story:

Since Suave and Savvy will soon be honey-mooning happily in Lonergan's Canada, we thought to honor their college majors (philosophy and physics) by condensing Lonergan's complex text to a simple, plain-talking textile. I mean even for an Oxford-tutored Lonerganian and his new Catholic bride, such a heady honeymoon ironically begs physical smoothing (which is why I worked our Sunbeam steam iron before Friday's rehearsal). So I found myself referring to some key passages from Lonergan's Preface, first chapter, and Epilogue (much to the relief of our very astonished guests when they saw my 875-page tome). Lonergan's key passages follow:

  • In the ideal detective story the reader is given all the clues yet fails to spot the criminal. (Naturally our happy couple once hadn't found one another.)
  • In the midst of that vast and profound strirring of human minds, which we name the Renaissance, Descartes was convinced that too many people felt it beneath them to direct their efforts to apparently trifling problems. (We here referred to such tasks as fixing the dinner arrangements and writing needed guest invitations.)
  • It might be thought that, at the end of this long book, the long-suffering reader was entitled to a concluding summary. (You can imagine our audience's brief, agonized laughter.)
  • In the introduction I stated a programme. Thoroughly understand what it is to understand, and not only will you understand the broad lines of all there is to be understood but also you will possess a fixed base, an invarient pattern, opening upon all further developments of understanding. (We here suggested Suave and Savvy had finally found each other.)

 Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: Insight: A Study in Human Understanding, Vol. 3, Eds. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992 [1957], 3, 27, 754, 769-79.

So, the two T-Shirts? Well, their fronts and backs are depicted below — with Lonergan's brief quip reading: "But insights are a dime a dozen, eh?"

 · T-Shirt Front ·

 · T-Shirt Back  ·

Nice send-off, eh?*


Such important occasions require such Stylish moves. I love the t-shirts even though Lonergan is news to me. I can imagine the new couple having to explain them over and over as they enjoy their first days together in Canada.

I will drink to bride and groom — and mom and dad.

Posted by John on June 4, 2004 04:41 PM

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