Sunday, 4 January 2009

Deeper Truths

“I have tried to stress throughout the inevitableness of the error made about every transposition by one who approaches it from the lower medium only. The strength of the critic lies in the words “merely” or “nothing but. He sees all the facts but not the meaning. Quite truly, therefore, he claims to have seen all the facts. there is nothing else there, except the meaning. He is therefore, as regards the matter at hand, in the position of an animal. You will have noticed that most dogs cannot understand pointing. You point to a bit of food on the floor; the dog, instead of looking at the floor, sniffs at your finger. A finger is a finger to him, and that is all. His world is all fact and no meaning. And in a period in when factual realism is dominant we shall find people deliberately inducing upon themselves this dog-like mind. A man who has experienced love from within will deliberately go about to inspect in analytically from outside and regard the results of this analysis as truer than his experience. The extreme limits of this self-binding is seen in those who, like the rest of us, have consciousness, yet go about the study of the human organism as if they did not know it was conscious. As long as this deliberate refusal to understand things from above, even where such understanding is possible, continues, it is idle to talk of any final victory over materialism. The critique of every experience from below, the voluntary ignoring of meaning and concentration on fact, will always have the same plausibility. There will always be evidence, and every month fresh evidence, to show that religion is only psychological, justice only self-protection, politics only economics, love only lust, and thought itself only cerebral biochemistry.”

C S Lewis - transpositions.

At the end of the Victorian era, when the West was at the height of its growth and dominance,
it became popular to aspire to a philosophy of the ascendancy of 'civilized' humanity. Popular authors and writers sought to advocate such views and 'new' schools of philosophical and 'scientific' study aimed to define us in solely materialistic terms - the chief of these being the works of Freud, Marx and Darwin. It was all expected to herald a new age, a new order, where man would finally become the defined (and thereby truly free) creature he was meant to be, no longer chained to myth or superstition.

The reality was very different. The 'new age' gave birth to the most destructive century in modern history, where war has become the currency of a world in which genocide, displacement, poverty and disease are the grim reality we see everyday. The illusions of modernity have merely allowed the secular society the freedom to seek to obscure the reality of human nature and thereby the human condition, thereby incarcerating many to a world-view in which there is no true understanding, thus no meaning or remedy.

The 'modern' thinkers of our times wish to brush such realities aside and continue to advocate the contemporary myth of our nature, but there is actually nothing new or unchallenged about an ideology which, in essence, would have comfortably rubbed shoulders with the stoics and epicureans of ancient Greece. The inherent 'myth' of this view is unmasked by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 1 - a 'humanism' which denies the most profound reality of our existence - that we were designed and created, and we have rebelled against that designer. The consequence is terrible - the construction of our realities, individual and corporate, become founded and raised upon a lie, that we can become 'gods' in determining our own existence, our own purpose, our own ends.

In a year when such voices will no doubt seek to make themselves heard, yet again, loudly and, on occasion, selectively, through the popular media, let's begin by taking a leaf from the observations of Solomon - that wisdom, there amongst our streets and everyday lives, is not something so brash and arrogant, but like the serenity and grace of a gentle woman, is seeking to address us, calmly yet deeply, to open our eyes to a far larger universe.

The God who is there, is indeed the God who is here.

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