A couple of days ago, I was very much so tempted to write a bit in here about my position with respect to those lovely terms "liberal" and "conservative". I have since then decided against writing extensively about myself per se in this blog. I come here, having toiled most of the day either at my part-time job or for my business (or for both), to discuss ideas and not myself. I will only briefly touch on this subject and thus proceed to today’s reflection. I think that you will find through my ideas that it's not a matter of right and left, liberal and conservative, etc. As Sean Hannity would say, "It's a matter of right and wrong." This isn't to say that we live in a black and white world. I only endeavor to say that I desire to reach out for that most fundamental Truth which is the basis for all existing things and to behold it, as much as possible, in its fullness and no less if possible. I will err along the way but will always strive to find it where it is. In this spirit, I am liberal, willing stating a claim which is in some translations of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae attributed to St. Ambrose, "Every truth, by whomsoever spoken is from the Holy Ghost". However, I am also conservative in so much as I am willing to state that there is ultimate meaning which is relational but not relative. Because of my general disdain for this subject and the problems which is causes, I will now move on to my reflections for this evening.
Over the weekend, I purchased some new books second hand from the Scottdale library. Yes, I know that many of you who know me are wondering, "Why in the world did you buy more books?! Don't you have enough already, Matt?" I shall reply only in this: "(1) There are so many things to know and love in this world that man should have an unassailable thirst for knowledge to the degree that it enables him to be more open to the beauty and goodness of the world as it exists. (2) I'm cheap and don't have a great income flow. Therefore, used book sales are always a taAt any rate, I found a variety of books on the few shelves available. Among the various donated tomes, I found a variety of science fiction and a smattering of light theology and philosophy. Among the science fiction, I purchased several works of Isaac Asimov. To this point in my life, I have only read I Robot by him (and not in response to the movie which I did not see). Among the works that I purchased, one was a collection of short stories that he has written. Today while I was on my lunch break at Uptegraff, I decided to crack out this small book of short stories. (This dual offering of diminished size does not reduce the dignity of the stories, of course. ;-)) The last story that I read was a little gem called "Eyes Do More Than See." Now, in my ignorance, I had not read this very short tale up to this point in my life. If you are already familiar with this text, my hat goes off to you. For those of you who have not read it, it can be found at: http://graphics.stanford.edu/~tolis/toli/other/eyes.html. From thence on, I shall reflect briefly on this story.
"I will not say: Do not weep; for not all tears are an evil"
Blessed are we, who are compositely spiritual and material. Beyond the intellect, we are able to reach the affective emotions which spirit our actions onward toward goodness, even though much bad may also come of their misuse. The beauty of the cosmos is ours in manifold ways. Man's intellect drives him onward toward such potential for good that one can scarcely begin to imagine the possibility which he promises to all of creation. Existing radically for relationality, mankind stands above all creation, able to order it in accord with the Truth and in unity with it.
If man were nothing more than a soul locked inside of a physical body, then physical existence would have no meaning for him. However, the "eyes do more than see." Think only briefly about the existence of the ocular sense. By means of our eyes, we see the world around us. In this aspect, it is not different from our other senses, which all communicate to our consciousness from the outside world. However, it is in the eyes that we have our contact with the world from within. The very gaze of man can penetrate into another, expressing feeling and depth. It is often said, in a variety of ways, "The eyes are the window of the soul." Indeed this is true, for through the eyes it can be proven that man's rationality can communicate with the corporeal realm. It is the eye which communicates those great movements of the soul from within to the without. It is also through the eye that we take in those guises of others, lightening or darkening our souls (cf. Mt. 6:22).
Alas if man is unable to express himself. If man can not jump, shout, laugh, or cry, how can he communicate himself to the rest of creation? Indeed he can not. Without these signs, man is alone in his emotions. Rationality alone can not express the inexhaustible movements of the human spirit. That most blessed doctrine of the Resurrection gives man hope beyond all compare. That man can be united with God, so fully that he can remain even bodily through eternity, is a cause for joy incomparable. Through all eternity, man need not be alone in his emotions. He can weep with Rachel for her lost children (Jeremiah 31:15) and sing of God's glory (Rev. 15:3). Humanity has no need to worry about a lack of corporality or to pine over "the fragile beauty of the bodies they had once given up" ("Eyes Do More than See"). Indeed, mankind can weep for all eternity, for his bodily emotions are not meaningless. "Not all tears are an evil" but are an expression of the depths of his emotion unto others. It is indeed an exchange of ontological importance, in which emotion communicates man’s very being, from the soul, through the body.
- There are varied degrees of relationality possible by means of the other senses. The eyes seem to be the most radical, although this is possibly contestable. For the sake of these reflections, I will not consider them, for it is the spirit of Asimov’s story that spurs it on and not the overall correctness of a closed philosophical system.
- The first (and last) quote are taken from the last words of Gandalf the White in The Return of the King. This can be found on page 310 of The Return of the King in the collector's edition of The Lord of the Rings.
- Additionally, I am not prescribing that man necessarily only weep throughout eternity. However, it is not an indignant position for man to take, for tears can be of great sorrow or great joy. Additionally, it is in keeping with the theme of Asimov's story, for Brock would much rather have wept than have been in a state of perpetual non-weeping.
- I do not usually pay heed to politically correct speech. I am not sexist but prefer this style of writing. No offense is intended. I will not reiterate this point again unless pressed to do so. I do not wish to lambast those who use "she" exclusively, so long as I am not accursed for primarily using "he".