R.A. Lafferty Devotional Page

Thus we Frustrate Charlemagne

Sometimes though one has to doubt Lafferty's depth of philosophical understanding, when he writes stuff like this: 
    "We'll  do  it,"  said Gregory.  "Our world  has  become
 something of a fat slob; it cloys; it  has bothered  me all
 evening.  We  will  find  whether  purely  intellectual at-
 titudes are of actual  effect. We'll  leave the  details to
 Epikt,  but I  believe the  turning point  was in  the year
 1323  when  John  Lutterell  came  from  Oxford  to Avignon
 where  the  Holy  See  was then  situated. He  brought with
 him  fifty-six  propositions  taken  from  Ockham's Commen-
 tary  on  the  Sentences,  and  he proposed  their condemn-
 nation.  They  were  not   condemned  outright,   but  Ock-
 ham  was  whipped  soundly  in that  first assault,  and he
 never  recovered.  Lutterell  proved  that  Ockham's nihil-
 ism  was  a  bunch  of  nothing. And  the Ockham  thing did
 die away, echoing  dimly through  the little  German courts
 where  Ockham  traveled  peddling  his  wares,  but  he  no
 longer  peddled  them in  the main  markets. Yet  his view-
 point could have  sunk the  world, if  indeed, intellectual
 attitudes are of actual effect."                          
    "We wouldn't have liked  Lutterell," said  Aloysius. "He
 was  humorless  and  he  had  no  fire in  him, and  he was
 always  right.  And  we  would  have  liked Ockham.  He was
 charming,  and  he  was  wrong,  and  perhaps  we  will de-
 stroy  the world  yet. There's  a chance  that we  will get
 our  reaction  if  we  allow  Ockham  free hand.  China was
 frozen for thousands of years by an  intellectual attitude,
 one not nearly so unsettling as  Ockham's. India  is hypno-
 tized into a queer stasis which calls  itself revolutionary
 and which  does not  move --  hypnotized by  an intellectual
 attitude.  But  there was  never such  an attitude  as Ock-
    So  they  decided  that  the  former  chancellor  of Ox-
 ford, John  Lutterell, who  was always  a sick  man, should
 suffer  one  more  sickness  on  the  road  to  Avignon  in
 France,  and  that  he  should  not  arrive there  to lance
 the Ockham thing before it infected the world.            

One may hold in his favor, that this is a world that has been already altered by one experiment, so the Ockham described here need not be the "real" Ockham. As Aloysius Shiplap says a few paragraphs earlier: 

                                    There is something amiss 
 here, though.  It  is as though  I remembered  when things
 were  not  so  stark  with  Ockham,  as  though,  in  some 
 variant,  Ockham's  Terminalism  did  not mean what we know 
 that it did mean.