Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chasing Rabbits

My crew left for the weekend leaving me to continue the rehab of our kitchen. Letting the first coat of drywall mud dry I moved on to my computer area in great hopes of cleaning that up too. As I was removing and filing a pile of papers I uncovered Chesterton’s book on Saints Aquinas and Francis, (I was wondering where that went). Sitting down to “thumb through it” again it thus bring an end to my plans for further kitchen construction.

I moved to some of Aquinas’s writings and came across some quotes of his that made me understand why Gilbert loved him so:

“Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.”

“It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.”

And then this:
“Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.”

Knowing that Aquinas brought the ancient philosophers to bear in forming his theology I moved on to Plato and his buddies and I saw how Aquinas could “easily” do this.
In his "Republic," Plato has Socrates describe the effect on the soul of grace and gracelessness in the material culture: "Our aim is to prevent our Guards being reared among images of vice — as it were in a pasturage of poisonous herbs where, cropping and grazing in abundance every day, they little by little and all unawares build up one huge accumulation of evil in their soul. Rather, we must seek out craftsmen with a talent for capturing what is lovely and graceful, so that our young, dwelling as it were in a salubrious region, will receive benefit from everything about them. Like a breeze bringing health from wholesome places, the impact of works of beauty on eye or ear will imperceptibly from childhood on, guide them to likeness, to friendship, to concord with the beauty of reason."

Remembering a past post of mine on the power of television to teach, Plato is telling us that you won't find such "craftsmen" on television today.
Turn it off - read a book or rehab your kitchen.

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