Sunday, February 13, 2005

First Sunday of Lent

The question of Lent is the question of our age: are we spiritual creatures, or not?

Unfortunately, we turn that issue into an either/or: there must be a dichotomy, a unitary fundamental that underlies all appearances and is consistent no matter external circumstances. It is our Hellenistic heritage. Thales of Miletus observed the rain showering the grass, the cow eating the grass, and then the cow giving milk, and concluded the underlying fundamental common to all these things was water. So, he surmised, all things are primarily and fundamentally water. Because ex nihilo nihil fit, and like can only know (and be; but phenomenology comes many centuries later) like. Socrates was on basically the same ground in Phaedo, when he argued for the immortality of souls from the existence of opposites. The opposites are not truly opposite, but merely aspects of the same whole.

Ex nihilo nihil fit is sound enough; but must everything be reducible to one known? Is there only this admixture of elements, but one is primary and at least first among equals?

Are we, as beings, fundamentally material? Or psychological? Or spiritual? Is that what we should be looking for? Purity of heart may be to will one thing, but it purity of being to only be one thing?

An issue worthy of at least 40 days meditation.

"The spirit cannot endure the body when overfed, but, if underfed, the body cannot endure the spirit."--Francis de Sales, 17th century

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