Happy Laetare Sunday! Father wore pink today! X-D
One of our recent homilies was on the comment of a certain famous French philosopher,
I think, therefore I am.
Can anybody else see what exactly is wrong with this?
Apparently, if you can not think, then you are not! Does this mean we should euthanize all people who have less than a certain IQ? Should everyone who is declared “brain dead” (aka, no higher mental functions showing) should die? (Remember, some of these people still come back after years and years of life in a so-called “vegetative state”.) Does it mean that everyone who watches mindless TV after work rather than playing chess should be declared “not human”? Does it mean that since babies can’t think for themselves yet, they aren’t human either, justifying abortion?
In my opinion, no. In fact, my opinion is a very strong no, to each and every of these questions. (Bear in mind, this is just my opinion, and while I am baring my opinions to the world on this blog, I am merely airing them, not forcing you to believe them too.) Each of these things that logically follow from Rene Descartes’ famous quote are horrible to even imagine; they are the subject of many thriller, sci-fi, and dystopian novels.
Fellow Christians, look closer at this quote. Does it seem familiar? It might, and it should. It’s Enlightenment thinking. While there is nothing wrong with some Enlightenment thinking, it does offer knotty questions to all of us who believe that God is supreme. Man is supreme over the animals because, apparently, he can think. He has a soul. He has free will. But his free will is given to him so that he may do the right thing out of love. (Feminists, please don’t freak out. I’m just using good old-fashioned grammar shorthand and lowering the wordcount of a post that’s otherwise too long by using “man” to stand for “man and woman” and “he” for “he and she.” Thank you for your attention. 🙂 ) But that’s not really where Descartes is headed with this. He discards the idea of a soul and fixates on the thinking that differentiates man from animals. Thus, when a man can not think, he is no longer human, regardless if the soul is still bound to the body.
The other problem with this is the one I’ve been getting at all along. Since, obviously, man can think, man is the Master. Why, Descartes might have said instead,
I think, therefore I AM WHO I AM.
Which, my friends, I think we all recognize is blasphemy.
I propose a new quotation and a new meditation:
God thinks, therefore I am.
It is true, after all. If God ceased to think of us for a single breath, we would cease entirely to exist in that same moment, unique immortal soul and all! Scary thought, that, but it will never happen. Why?
God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son, that whomever should believe in Him should have immortal life.
John 3:16. (But you already knew that. :-P)
All right, now that I’ve taken apart some faulty reasoning (:-P), I have a poem that I wrote which you all might enjoy reading!
Oh wondrous wisdom, for forty days
Each hour given up to prayer
That each moment may purify our ways
And fit us for the Gospel to declare.
Oh, beautiful time, these forty days
That each day another day fulfill
Repentance in ashes, for life comes through pain
Emptiness that only self-denial can fill.
Purifying our hearts, we wipe away fear
By this holy season’s fast
Oh, wisdom of this tithe of the year!
But be warned, these precious hours do not last.
They fly away like leaves in a gale,
Into the immutability of the past,
Not until time is gone do we see and grow pale.
That these little gifts should not be the last,
By our souls’ trials are our souls made strong,
Preparation for the dawn of the Light,
For forty days was never too long,
Until the vigil of the New Fire at Easter’s midnight,
Shall we sing in hope our Lenten song.
(Yes, I know the rhyme scheme is off, and it’s a little old-fashioned, but I hope you like it. And it really is a tithe of the year–Lent is almost exactly one-tenth of the year! No, that’s not my idea. It was Pope Innocent’s, I think. I’m not sure. Thanks for reading, and God Bless!)