A Passion For Eternity
In one of his snippy moods -- like Jefferson, he was intellectually labile -- Wittgenstein said "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." But different people are qualified to speak of different things, based upon their sensitivity to them.
This is what Giussani means by genius, which refers to the "knack" we have for certain subjects. Genius "needs only a clue to intuit the solution to the problem, while everyone else has to work laboriously through every step."
So we should declare -- for example, to the loudmouthed atheist -- "whereof you cannot speak, you should really just shutup. Believe it or not, no living person cares about what you haven't experienced, nor about the limits of your sensibilities."
There are a multitude of things about which I express no opinion, because it's none of my isness. It takes all kinds to make a cosmos, and we are all built to respond to different frequencies and vibrations.
One of the great tragedies in life is never discovering the Thing that speaks to us in this cosmically intimate way -- that for which we are gifted. But my thing isn't necessarily anyone else's thing. Here you no doubt detect the strands of my neohippie DNA: do your own thing, which is to say, become who you are, an individual.
The educational establishment, the media, the state -- the purpose of each is to drive a wedge between you and your Thing, because it is impossible to control 300 million individuals. It's much easier if everyone is the same, or is at least easily sorted into racial, sexual, and socioeconomic categories.
This is why it's so much easier for a Democrat to design a campaign. For the left, if you're black, or female, or hispanic, that's all you are, so that's all they need to know about you. "Your skin color, your failure to master english, your naughty bits, that's your Thing. And we respect that."
Importantly, this gift we have for intuiting an aspect of reality in a flash is not "unreasonable." The genius of which Giussani speaks bypasses linear reasoning and cannot necessarily articulate the steps it took to reach a conclusion. It sees the totality in an instant, and is thereby transrational, not irrational.
Yesterday we spoke of the space that opens out between human energy and a presence. This human energy is what we call the soul, while the presence can be anything from physical sensations, to interpersonal cues, to humor and wit, to aesthetic sensibility, to religious insights (and much more besides).
"[S]omething always has an impact on the individual's sphere of experience." The presence from whatever dimension "penetrates one's personal experience," which creates a certain creative response in us (I won't say "reaction," because that is too mechanical).
Now, different presences are of different magnitudes. I'm thinking, for example, of the first time I "fell in love" -- or whatever it was. The point is, whatever it was, it was an incredibly powerful presence.
Really, it was like being inundated in an emotional runaround tsunami. I was clearly in the presence of this Other, and yet, how could this Other be anything other than me? (I'm not referring here to the other person, but the Other state of being into which I found myself plunged.)
Now, the same thing routinely occurs with regard to the spiritual dimension. That is to say, we respond to the presence of this ultimate Other with a jarring (?!) or sacred WTF. We then give it a name -- God, for example -- but just like the teenage experience alluded to above, it takes two to Tonga -- in this case, the simultaneous presence of the Presence and of the Religious Sense.
I might add that to be repelled by religion is equally a state of the soul, except a reactionary one. It is always a secondary, not primary, experience. If they just cut out the middle man, they could be religious, like everyone else.
We are all familiar with Blake's wise crack about seeing God in a grain of sand or some blades of grass we'd like to buy from him. "Depending upon the measure of the individual's human vivacity, anything whatsoever that enters his personal horizon... moves him, touches him, provokes a reaction."
What is especially shocking is how specific the feeling can be. I would guess that english words haven't yet been invented for most of these -- for example, l'esprit d'escalier.
I'm just free associating here, as usual, but it occurs to me that a Christian would posit Jesus as having possessed the maximum "human energy" alluded to above. If we are correct, then he should reflect a maximum degree of sensitivity to every degree and dimension of existence. In any event, it's good to have an ideal, an archetype to shoot for -- if not Jesus, then at least someone more alive than you.
In contrast to Jesus, "If someone has a narrow mind and a small, mean heart, he will find much less value in the world around him than a person who has a great soul, who is vivacious." These people are boring in the extreme.
The reason they are boring is that they are less "alive." That is to say, aliveness is precisely this openness to everything. Therefore, when Jesus speaks of a more abundant life, I'm pretty sure this is what he's talking about.
An equivalent word would be passion -- or let us say "passionate engagement," to distinguish it from mere ungoverned life force.
As Giussani writes, "the more nature arouses my interest in something, the more it makes me curious, gives me the need and passion to know that thing.... Indeed, as soon as nature endows me with an interest in an object, it conditions my capacity to know it by the feeling that is produced." To love it is to know it (although the knowledge will increase as a result of the passionate engagement).
To summarize the nub of the gist of the upshot of the bottom line of the whole existentialada: "if a certain thing does not interest me, then I do not look at it; if I do not look at it, then I cannot know it. In order to know it, I need to give my attention to it."
So "the centre of the problem is really a proper position of the heart, a correct attitude, a feeling in its place, a morality."
And let the dead bury the tenured.