My dear readers, unfortunate gravity and perfectionism have seized and bound my pen of late. The desire to write well has stymied me from writing at all. As the Italian proverb has it, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” The only solution, since I cannot convince myself that I write well, lies in writing badly. After all, Theodore Roosevelt advises that the best thing to do in any situation is the right thing, the next best is the wrong thing, and the worst is to do nothing at all. This advice may actually be false in regard to politics, but in the realm of writing it bears certain truth. And so, I have proposed to myself to write one post per diem–not necessarily on this blog–for a fortnight.
The title of this post, “De Hilaritate,” is the closest I could translate “On Levity” into Latin. If I had written “De Levitate” instead, the present article would be praising fickleness or changeableness, which deserve no praise at all. When I speak of levity, I speak of that virtue related to cheerfulness and humility, which all the saints have and often reveal in the most dour of times–as when the martyr St. Lawrence, as he roasted alive over a grill, said: “I’m well done on this side. Turn me over and eat!” At the same time, the excess of gravity, rooted in pride and despair, is shared by all the citizens of hell. This might strike many of you with surprise as many religious types, myself included, have a tendency to face life with a serious countenance, as seems reasonable considering an eternity of heaven or hell awaits us depending on how we have lived. However, the devout always carry joy in them–the joy of being united to Christ, and extra seriousness at the beginning of conversion must give way to levity as our faith in God’s goodness and salvific will increase.