Thursday, July 15, 2021

Take a Hike


Paul VanderKlay offered an interesting, and, I believe, illuminating analogy to compare and contrast two worldviews – the religious (“eyes up”) and the scientific {“eyes down”).  I made the following comment at his site:

Your example of a hike to a mountain, and contrasting the purpose of eyes up vs. eyes down was quite helpful.  Eyes up: one must know, ultimately, where one is going.  Call it an end, a purpose, a telos.  Eyes down: try to not stumble too much along the way.

What is the point of not stumbling if you can never, by definition, reach your objective (your purpose or telos) because you are not even looking for it?  Yet, we have grown so “eyes down” that all we care about is physical safety, in other words, not stumbling. 

Not dying has become our sole aim – a perfect aim for an “eyes down” society.  And we were all finally and fully forced – even at the cost of ignoring science – into that “eyes down” church in March of 2020.  Every institution fully proclaims “safety is our number one priority.”  A pretty pathetic aim for a university, a church, even a government – to say nothing of a father.

Yet…we all die, sooner or later.  So, we live every day knowing that we will fail at the only purpose the “eyes down” society has left us.  Might even result in a meaning crisis.


A choice: This, from CS Lewis?

Medieval man looked up at a sky not only melodious, sunlit, and splendidly inhabited, but also incessantly active; he looked at agents to which he, and the whole earth, were patients.

 Or this, from prisoner 24601:

Look down! Look down!

You'll always be a slave.

One of these two offers the possibility of liberty – liberty to live according to man’s proper purpose.

1 comment:

  1. Damn. That is one hell of a comment!

    The City of Man = Eyes Down
    The City of God = Eyes Up

    Both are needed. Thankfully God gave us all the tools necessary to do both (eyes which swivel, necks that tilt, etc.). But boy is the learning process on the balance of these two fraught with error!

    Here's an interesting quote from Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in his book, "The Menace of the Herd":

    "Whatever the conceptions of Enlightenment toward God might have been, whether they pictured Him as nonexistent, or as a pale being without personality, sunk in sleep, or at least disinterested toward the fate of the individual, that period took a negative attitude toward the next world. Enlightenment was antimetaphysical and geocentrical. In the framework of such a philosophy, devoid of otherworldliness, the human beings and their existence assumed automatically a different significance. The meaning of life, human happiness, and all the other basic values were projected into this world and that change brought an enormous thirst for "justice," earthly justice, of course, which in turn was nothing else but an initially veiled and finally open demand for absolute equality."