Friday, February 13, 2009

treating mud with respect

From the poetic and profound Anthony Esolen in Touchstone (hat tip: Evangelogia)...

The savage of ancient days thought the world was unintelligible – or at least there was a lot of it he didn’t understand – yet he believed it was filled with meaning. It was a world of gods: speaking in the running water, sleeping in the cave, storming over the mountains. That primitive piety kept him from a lot of invention, no doubt. He might have feared to dam up the stream. But it also kept him from a lot of destruction.

We don’t make savages like that anymore. Modern man knows that the world, or at least much of it, is intelligible, yet he believes it has no meaning. He is not afraid to pile up the stream with stones or plug up the cave. It’s only matter, only brute ‘stuff.’ As are his breath, his brains, his whole body....

It’s only mud, after all. So he believes. But at least the old savage treated mud with more respect.


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