Monday, September 06, 2004

Wisdom

I liked this bit from yesterday's mass:
Who can know God's counsel, or who can conceive what the LORD intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans. For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the that has many concerns. And scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but when things are in heaven, who can search them out? Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight. Wis 9:13-18b
My reading of the Bible is still very lacking, but I have looked over the books of Wisdom, and they will probably be a favourite for a long time to come. No one can even begin to be wise, which is among the greatest of gifts, without getting their epistemology right. How do you know what you think you know? It isn't through reason, as that can only be a circular argument. And we do have moments of clarity, when things look new and we breakthrough to a better understanding, however big or small. Grace is the best explanation of that process that I have seen. As G.K. Chesterton said, in his book Orthodoxy, "Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is a matter of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." Reality seems to keep slipping away when you try to measure to precisely, when you think your theories are enough to allow you to re-make the world, or, at least, it's social fabric:
An apple or an orange is round enough to be called round, and yet it is not round after all.... Everywhere in things there is this element of the quiet and incalulable.

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