A Lamentation. Of Self-Definition. Of Identity.

A dark power has taught the past few generations of Americans to define themselves by transgression of boundaries rather than by stretch and strain toward ideals. Their minds are shackled by comparisons and negations. So great were the atrocities committed by their forebears that they are content to be not like them without becoming anything else, to be not inhuman without becoming human.

The desire to be other is not enough to draw one into authentic existence.

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An Excerpt from a Poem. Of Echoes. Of Hiddenness.

                                   My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
                                   But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
                                   Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.

There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.

—T. S. Eliot, from “Burnt Norton”

Definitions in Competition. Of Opinion, Knowledge, Faith.

The Skeptic: Opinion is the memory of a thought attended by a feeling of certainty. Knowledge is the memory of a thought attended by a feeling of certainty and an assumption that everyone else must feel the same about it once it is remembered.

The Mystic: Faith is a mode of thinking conditioned by telos rather than origin or memory. Knowledge is the desired yet—in this life—unreachable telos of faith.

Three Experimental Thoughts. Of Maturity. Of Adulthood.

  1. Children often wish to be adults in hopes of gaining in adulthood some benefit that is in childhood withheld from them. Now, imagine a child who has been taught to long for adulthood because being an adult is an actualization of a fundamental purpose, and who consequently hopes to gain not a benefit but a responsibility, a burden that uplifts only those who bear it and oppresses those who set it down.
  2. A longing for maturity is an essential element of maturity itself.
  3. The cost and cause of human actualization: that one should desire one’s highest end and not presume to have it.