Kevin's Musings

Thoughts on religion, philosophy, music, art, and anything else that has grabbed my attention during the day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Thoughts in Hometown Buffet

These thoughts are going to be a little jumbled but hopefully one can make sense of them. I asked a lot of questions without attempting to answer many of them. They are thoughts and questions to ponder. I have been persuaded that it is more important to develop good questions than to have a lot of factual knowledge, and to spend one's life wrestling with those questions.

For 2000 years the goal of a good education was to create a lady or a gentleman. The good education produced people who would think well, read well, and write well. The leaders of the Christian Church had these abilities. Today the goal of education seems to me to be 1) rote memorization of data, 2) socialization, 3) Job skills and job preparation.

The historical understanding of the good education was to become a good, beautiful and whole person. A person, as it was understood, can become a beautiful person by contemplating beautiful things. How is that possible? Why is that so? One possibility: contemplation, reflection, is an action of the soul, not just the body. "One becomes what one contemplates. One becomes what one worships." How can I justify these statements? What sorts of things are worthy of contemplation? The first thing that comes to mind is the list of St. Paul in Philipians - things that are pure, noble, of good reputation, lovely, true, worthy of praise. He tells us to think (dwell, contemplate, reflect) on these things.

The ancient Greeks believed the well-educated person was a person of justice, goodness, someone who was inquisitive and had a whole soul - Someone who thought hard, felt passionately about good things and then did good in their community (head, heart, and hand). Historically, whatever group has had an understanding of head, heart, and hand would triumph in the culture, would LEAD the culture.

More thoughts:
How has the attitude of efficiency to the modern man been detrimental to an attitude toward valuing contemplation of Godly qualities of character, eternal constants, i.e. the world of being in relation to the world of becoming? (Plato) I think it has helped to blind us to the world beyond the world of the sense. If one believes in the world beyond the senses, because of the attitude that efficiency is better, one is likely to find difficulty in believing the world of sense can have any direct contact with the world beyond. The metaphysical world.

This also has implications towards the claim that fictional stories realised in the imagination can become reality both in the mind of the creator and in the mind of the receiver of the stories. Is Frodo Baggins, for example, real in the imagination since there is an author and a receiver of the person or idea of Frodo? Does Frodo have any direct bearing on the life of the person contemplating his qualities, his actions, and his thoughts and passions?

What paradigm is true if naturalism is false? What is the opposite of naturalism and materialism? Metaphysics, supernaturalism? The world of contemplation vs. pragmatism? How can one discover this world beyond the sensate world? How can one become convinced of the world of spirit, mind (as opposed to brain), aesthetics, emotion, etc.? Is God Himself the Creator of goodness, truth, beauty, justice, love, nobility, kindness, etc.? Does God create these qualities that we must become or is God Himself these qualities and we must share in His life in order to become these qualities? When we become people of goodness, truth, honesty, beauty, love, etc. does this mean we become what God is, or are these qualities something God creates and thereby we remain something outside of God - without sharing in His nature? Maybe this is the difference between Eastern and Western Christianity.

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