Monday, August 13, 2018

Refusing to Take Reality for Granted

Blood Moon
CNN posted this photo I took of a blood moon - HERE.
The existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir "had a kind of genius for being amazed by the world and by herself; all her life she remained a virtuoso marveller at things. As she said in her memoirs, this was the origin of fiction-writing: it began at those times when ‘reality should no longer be taken for granted’." (Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist CafĂ©: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others, p. 109)

A virtuoso marveller at things.

For the third night in a row I'm going to step out into the dark, get still, look to the skies, and marvel at the Perseid meteor shower. I have time for this. I must do this.

The great, paradigm-shifting German philosopher Immanuel Kant was attending a lecture by a materialistic astronomer. (Materialism: all reality is only physical.) The atheist astronomer was talking about the insignificance of man, based on man's place in the vast universe. The astronomer concluded his lecture with: "So you see that astronomically speaking, man is utterly insignificant." Kant replied: "Professor, you forgot the most important thing, man is the astronomer." (Shared by Boston College philosopher Peter Kreeft.)

In his Critique of Practical Reason, Kant wrote the following, which was eventually engraved on his tombstone:

"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."

It's 9 PM. Linda and I are watching TV together. In an hour I'll step outside and look up, as I've done countless times before. 

When I consider God's heavens,
the work of His fingers,
the moon and the stars,
the comet's icy tail,
which He has set in place...

I cannot take reality for granted.