Saturday, 27 August 2011


There is a great continuity throughout excellent things, that is easily noticed to the mind that desires to see, to the mind that can see. Enlightenment is a wonderful term, though it has taken on a dubious and inconstant meaning. For the common person the term enlightenment might bring with it notions of the Eastern religions of Hinduism, or Buddhism in all its forms. For a more eurocentric mind the term enlightenment might bring to mind 'The Enlightenment,' or positivism and Darwinism. However, these things do not possess or predicate enlightenment. Enlightenment was not birthed from loins of the religious, nor of intellectuals. It is not an accident of their beliefs, their thoughts and ideas. Enlightenment is something that happens; to be enlightened is to be illuminated with the truth.

So, we must naturally wonder what the purpose of enlightenment is. Why does it happen, and what if it does not happen? What are we to do once we have been enlightened? The light itself is pure, but it comes to us in variation. Whoever sees the light sees the same thing. Let me show however, if I may, a reason for the vicissitude and variability of enlightenment. For, not all who are enlightened are enlightened in the same way or to the same extent, neither do they agree on all things. Imagine that you, being turned away from the sun look into a pane of glass and seeing the sun. Is it truly the sun you see? Are you not rather looking and seeing the sun's reflection? Or imagine those who fixate on sun dogs. If they don't know what they are looking at, is it not possible that they might be confused? Further, if we look upon the sun itself at it's zenith, do we truly see the sun? Or is it not more correct to say that we see the sun's rays? And those who look upon the sun at dawn are likely to see a different sight than those who look upon the sun at noonday or dusk. All the while, the great light itself, the sun, remains unchanged and constant. And while it seems to changes place through the sky throughout the day and the seasons, it never leaves it's perfect place at the center.

Is it any wonder then, that if we should be so prudent as to liken the Truth to the sun, and understand the variance we seem to see in the sky, that we quickly and innately begin to understand why the enlightened do not always agree, and that they are not all enlightened to the same extent? Therefore, let us continue to use this picture for a while. Now, knowing that they all look upon the sun, someone imprudent might say," They are all just different views of the same thing!" In a way they are right, but they leave off the greater portion of knowledge when they make that declaration. Will we not all agree that the one who has seen the sun best is the one who has seen it on the clearest day at a perfect zenith in the center of the sky, when it is at its highest point in the year? Of course we will all agree very quickly. We will say so, even in spite of the man who has seen the sun many times larger as it rises over the ocean or the desert, because we acknowledge that its light is diminished, and for that he sees the sun larger, but because he sees through far more atmosphere which has dimmed and magnified it.

So, who is that man? Who is the man who has seen the sun at it's zenith on the longest day? That man is the one we can trust above all others. We are certain to find him in agreement with the others, because what they know in part, he knows in it's entirety; and because they only know in part, they cannot agree with him entirely. These other men, they might have the knowledge that the sun is round, and bright, but some of them who have seen it on the shortest day are likely to say that it is not overly hot, and at that point they would be incorrect. So, it's very important not to say," They are all just different views of the same thing!" and leave it there. Not if we are to be in perfect possession of the truth. It is paramount that we find that man.

How can we know who is most enlightened? Is it possible to know, while we are yet in darkness? I say it is, and that the way to know is reason. But it all must begin with the sure faith that the enlightening object exists. "Faith seeking understanding." Now, reason is not reasonable if it is not altruistic. To understand that, we must first understand what it really means to be altruistic, by getting a good, fundamental understanding of virtue. Understanding justice would be the beginning of that. By understanding justice, much of the harshness that one sees as gratuitous and cruel in nature, is revealed in fact to be justice. The understanding of the other virtues leads one to see how justice is kept on their side. Finally, there is a revelation of contingent mercy, the greatest altruism.

By focusing on these things carefully and frequently, and letting them flower in the mind, the human intellect builds a framework of conscience, a schematic for what 'the good,' the enlightening factor, might look like. The mind and the heart will, or ought to, recognize the most enlightened religion, the most enlightened philosophy at its first appearance. Such a person will not recoil from them once they've found them due to the presence of mystery, and not because he is imprudent and over happy. Rather, he will be reassured by the mystery that he availed himself properly to those whom he ought. Look at it like this, if we can once more use the sun as a type of 'God.' The man who sees the sun best looks at an orb, but sees a disk; what he sees is not circular, but spherical. Similarly, the enlightened one looks upon one God, but it is a Trinity of persons. This is not only a great mystery, it is the greatest mystery! The man who has truly found it, will be assured by this greatest of mysteries, because he will know that if he can comprehend it, then it is not God. Just as the man who has seen the sun the clearest knows that if you can gaze upon it indefinitely, then you have not seen it clearly.

As soon as that one is enlightened, he will remember those who are still in darkness. He will be driven by the desire to enlighten them. They are likely to hate him for it, just as a person in the dark immediately exposed to brilliant light will hate the person who threw open the door or pulled off their hoods. And if that man gets into the habit of running around yanking the hoods off of the many, they will catch him and punish him for enlightening them. They have always been this way, the both of them, because the good and enlightened man would rather suffer any torture and even death than to let his kin and countrymen stumble around in the darkness trapped in a miserable existence, comforted and crippled at once by the pleasures of the senses. And they would rather kill him, than let him bring them all to suffering, all at once. That is why they killed Christ and Socrates, and all the martyrs since the beginning.
Whoever becomes enlightened and does this work that his mind and his heart and his goodness which he has gained from God implores him to do is a Prometheus, a better friend to mankind than Prometheus. But we can learn from Prometheus, if we notice that he started out with a little flame. St. Francis of Assisi said," It is better to make a little light, than to curse the darkness." How true! If we can but show them a little light, a flame, we might find them willing to share fire. And if we are patient and pass the night with them, they may even consent to the dawn. That's the gracious way, the patient way, the way for most who are enlightened to share the light. By showing them the light, you show them the whole world, and they can discover wonderful things, wonderful things to do in the light, things that were not possible in darkness, things they did not, could not have imagined. The enlightenment and salvation of the human race is the task of the Church given to it by the Father of Lights through the 'Light of the World,' who is Christ, in the Spirit of Truth. "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it... the true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world." (John 1:4-5,9) And it has come to pass, and you know that, that Light is the life of men. So, you also ought to know that He came not to condemn, but so that mankind might have life and life more abundantly. You must go to make sure that they have it, working in whichever ways are best.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Platonic Principles

Principle of Commonality- Whatever several things are F, this is because they participate in or initiate a single idea (form) of F.

Principle of Separation- The idea (form) of F is distinct from all things that are F.

The principle of Self-Predication- the idea (form) of F is itself F.

The Principle of Purity- The idea (form) of F is nothing but F.

Principle of Uniqueness- Nothing but the idea (form) of F is really, truly altogether F.

Principle of Sublimity- Ideas (forms) are everlasting, they have no parts and undergo no change, and they are not perceptible to the senses.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Monday, 15 August 2011

Mary for Evangelicals

It is tedious to even point out that the veneration of Mary by Catholics and Orthodox is condemned by American Evangelicals. However, because the evangelicals think that Marian veneration and devotion is a matter of idolatry, I'm writing this in the hope that it will provoke an attitude of reason in them. So, I am not here to convince anyone that Mary was sinless, or that she is a virgin. The point of this blog entry is to perhaps reveal to the evangelical Mary's role in the order of grace, so that having laid aside their bigotry against Marian devotion and momentarily adopting a critical and unbiased approach they may arrive through their own reason at a new appreciation for Mary. Hopefully, having a new found appreciation for her, they might be more fair handed when reasoning about Catholics, and what it means to be a Christian.

I used to attend a college house church in California when I was a Protestant Evangelical. One night there were about 20 of us gathered in the living room talking about 'what if's.' One girl said," What if a Christian found the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life? Could they enter and eat?" And naturally, I shouldn't wonder, I said," No, the angels wouldn't let you pass." So she said," But what if you told them that you had the authority to, because of Christ?" At that I said," Then, you would be acting in opposition to the will of God. We all have Original Sin, and sin is death. To eat would be to eat unto eternal death. That is why God banished man from the garden, because in his mercy he was saving man from living eternally in that fallen state and everything that entails." They all agreed 

In the Gospel, we hear the angel Gabriel's salutation to Mary," Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." (KJV Luke 1:42) The 'Hail Mary,' much denounced, mocked and condemned by Evangelicals is in fact mostly Gabriel's own salutation, the message given to him by God," Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus..." Now, naturally when looking at the bible we take certain ancient things to be signs of new things. Moses says," The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." (KJV Deuteronomy 18:15) and we naturally take that to mean the Christ.

In Numbers chapter 35 we read about how the death of the high priest absolves all man-slayers in the land and the land itself of bloodshed,"And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil." This we naturally take as a sign, not only for the redemptive work of the Cross (death of the High Priest), but the work of the Church (refuge cities of the priesthood), which is also the work of the Cross.

In the words of St. Augustine of Hippo," The New testament is hidden in the Old." How many times does Christ himself confound the Pharisees and Sadducees by showing how he is the fulfillment of prophecy with the scriptures? How many times does he appeal to Isaiah alone? It is undeniable, that the old was a sign of something else.

When evangelicals think of Mary, they usually just imagine that she was selected by God as arbitrarily as possible for no other reason than that she was capable and willing to participate in God's plan, and that she possessed the genealogical prerequisites necessary to fill the slot. And for this she is to rightly and heartily receive a kindly pat on the head, before she is buried under Pauline epistles and the bulk of the New Testament. She was the envelope that God sent his Word in, and can be disposed of. They give more honor to St. Paul, a reformed murderer than they do to Mary! St. Paul gave us words, but Mary gave us 'THE WORD.' And so some sort of account has to be given for the disregard Evangelicals have for Mary, and their aversion to giving her, her appropriate place in theology.

At this point, any Evangelical or Protestant might be already sliding back into the mire of objections. Again, we aren't here to discuss doctrines that defend Mary's sinlessness or her perpetual virginity; but we are here to discuss Mary's queenship. This, too, has been misrepresented tremendously by fundamentalist 'bible Christians,' as they like to call themselves. They attempt to conflate Mary's natural queenship with the Canaanite 'Queen of Heaven' so they can tell people that Catholics worship demons. And many of you have been hearing that pathetically shabby argument for years now. So, I ask you to simply for a moment repress your prejudices, do not allow your reason to be clouded by passion, and maintain a rigid unbiased attitude. Then, judge for yourselves what the argument bears out. But until then, please don't let what you are reading be drowned out by ready made fundamentalist objections. "It is the mark of an educated mind to examine an idea without believing in it." Plato said that, and I think he has a point.
So, let us look at scripture a little further. "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." (KJV Luke 1:3-4) Also, please notice that I have taken the trouble to only use the King James Version, and not the real bible of Nicaea used by the Catholic Church. In this passage, we see the evangelist Luke addressing a certain Theophilus. Now, as many people are aware, the name 'Theophilus' is a Greek name meaning 'friend of God.' This particular Theophilus is also a type of all 'Theophili'... all the friends of God. We can read the opening passage of the gospel as if it were addressed not only to a particular man, not only to a particular kind of man (Christians), but to ourselves, and we can do so without any kind of hesitation. In fact, to do so is only intuitive.

When Christ talks to his disciples, he is also talking to us; that's why the bible is relevant to our lives. Now, I wouldn't try to conflate anything intentionally, so I won't do so here. There is a universal meaning of scripture, and then there is what many Evangelical Protestants are so fond of calling 'Rhema,' that is, a private revelation. In other words, the bible means one thing and one thing only for all Christians, but it might and does have a special meaning for individuals in how it relates to their lives. One corresponds to the communal revelation of Christ in and through the Church, and the other corresponds to the personal relationship one has with God. I would be remiss if I didn't point it out, because in just a moment you will need to have this very thing in mind.

At the foot of the cross the beloved apostle John stood with Mary the mother of Our Lord, and the scripture reads," When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." (KJV John 19:26-27) What is meant here? Obviously, from a historical and empirical view point, it means that Jesus wanted his best friend to take care of his mother, and not just but he said that Mary was his mother and that John was her son.

Do you think that Christ's words were only meant to suffice some Jewish legal minutia, having to do with ownership, like a improvised last will? Do you think that the Apostle John wrote this down because he thought it would be important for the whole world to know that he looked out for his own mother, as if we wouldn't have naturally concluded, even without this scripture, that someone as holy as Christ wasn't derelict in his duty to family? No, that would be superfluous, and the apostle wasn't trying to boor people with irrelevant facts. It has a deeper significance.
What is Christ's possession on earth? It's the Church; and who did Christ put in charge of the the Church? The Apostles. Mary, like Theophilus, isn't merely a particular person in this passage, she is an amalgamation of the Church at large, the society of all Christians; and likewise the Beloved isn't merely John in particular, the Beloved is an amalgamation of all those who are beloved, Christian individuals. It's also interesting to note that Christ gives his mother to the beloved before he gives his Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and thereby gives them also his Father as their Father. He gives us not only his Father, but his mother, too. Therefore, Mary is the mother of every Christian, in the order of grace.

Christ initiated us into his family first through his humanity, which he received from Mary, by giving us to Mary; and then he initiated us into his divinity, by giving to us his Holy Spirit. Christ's apostles are troubled and ask him at the Last Supper where he is going and he says,"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (KJV John 14:4) Well, what is the way? The way is,"...the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (KJV 1 Timothy 3:15) Because Christ says to them two verses later in John 14:6," I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." And the Church is the Body of Christ, and Christ is the head; they are one and the same. He is the groom, the Church is the Bride, and they are become one in the Holy Spirit. We go to Christ the same way he came to us, by the Holy Spirit, through Mary who is the sign of the Church. As long as we abide in the Body we have life. Because he says again," I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (KJV John 15:5) Abide in Christ's Body, abide in Holy Mother the Church, in Mary's example... the perfect 'yes' to God's will.

That kind of brings us back to the beginning, when I was talking about my experience in California at that house Church. Who then can be called the Tree of Life; who is that tree a sign of? It's Mary! She is the Church, and the fruit of her womb is Christ, he is the fruit that grants eternal life, and yet Christ is also the tree because the Church is him, his very body. This isn't the first time we see him doubling responsibilities either! He was the lamb of sacrifice, and yet also the priest who offered himself for us. This is a great mystery! In the mystery of Mary's ontological role we see how truly and irrevocably intertwined our humanity has become with Christ's divinity, through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, and the gift of adoption by the Father through his Holy Spirit. We are all fruit on that Tree, as he is, if we are obedient, because the apostle Paul says," For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (KJV Romans 8:29) Therefore, Mary is our mother in the order of grace. It is an active role, and because she is our mother in the order of grace, she is also the figurehead of the Bride of Christ, the image of the glory which God has planned for us, the Queen of Heaven. 

But one last bit of argument, for now. The apostle Paul calls Christ 'The Second Adam.' The first Adam fell into a deep sleep and God fashioned for him a bride from his side. The scripture reads," And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (KJV Genesis 2:23-24) Christ's bride was also taken from his side," But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." (KJV John 19:34) The water being baptism, and the blood being the sacraments, which together are the Church and all those who participate in them. The Second Adam's bride was also taken from his side. And she is called after him "Christian," just like woman is called after the man. But who then is the 'Second Eve?' Is it not Mary, as we have shown, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone? Are we not all her children according to grace, just as we are all natural children of Eve? 

Perhaps, given the time to ruminate these ideas, you will finally find yourself fulfilling your own part in Mary's prophecy in Luke 1:48," ...henceforth all generations shall call me blessed!" Perhaps, you will know that Christ has also given you a mother, and that she is the paradigm of obedience to Christ and what we ought to be. And perhaps, finally, you will not be so hostile to those Christians who do venerate her as a mother, and even as the Queen which it pleased the Holy Trinity to make her, so that we would hope more strongly in his promises.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Apology For Impartiality

Lately it seems that I have stepped on a few toes by being impartial. I constantly find myself a gadfly, when I am merely looking for someone to commiserate this charged climate with. However, to my surprise, I find that impartiality, truthful critique, and satire are all quite unwelcome wherever it goes. Further, it seems that the truth has a rather inflammatory effect, and I can only conclude that this is because some see the truth as defamatory, or because they conflate the particular and the general. They heap symbolism on particular cases, and if you tell the truth about the particulars, then they are at your throat as if you attacked the sacred general, and to be honest, I am not like Voltaire. Voltaire prayed for his enemies to seem ridiculous, and that is far from me. Envisioning anyone as my enemy seems contrived, especially these people who are my own kindred in sacrament and blood. But it seems that I've disturbed them, and for that I must give account, which is precisely what I mean to do.

Socrates, the dear man, played with people, and naturally they thought ill of him. Socrates had done more good for the lot of them than any other and helped secure their place in history. The man pulled back the great eyelid of Greece and let the sun shine deep into the recesses of the eye, and the people liked it none too much. Half scarcely thanked him, and the other half wanted to murder him. Socrates never took the time over the years to make an apology occasionally, for his behavior and his ideas. A defense that is. Socrates was the most benevolent of his countrymen and one of uprightness and probity. He was most altruistic with the application of his intellect and his reason, and munificent and beneficent with the goods of his genius, though he was a pauper. It is a shame that the man was so ill thought of, but that is the way of things. At any rate, he might have done better to, from time to time, graciously defend himself in the form of an apology, but he only did so at the end, and to no immediate avail.

Well, I'm no Socrates, and it is unlikely that any of you will benefit so greatly from me as Athens or the world did from him, neither will I secure your place in history. Yet, taking his life as a lesson, it seems like a good thing to take the time to defend my demeanor, and my proclivity to be candid and impartial. Especially, since it is not strangers to whom I will make the apology, but my own friends, who I perhaps naively assumed understand me at all times.

To be fair, I have a habit, and perhaps it is an annoying one, of treating everything the same. I will, without inhibition expose everything without grace and go to reasoning about it. It seems natural that anyone might be offended by such treatment, especially when both our trivial and monumental beliefs are treated as equals. I will talk about politics in the same manner as I talk about religion, and philosophy the same way as I talk about theology. This is because I consider them linked. Likewise, I tend to treat the particular and the general in the same fashion, not that I conflate the two, but that I examine them under the same set of principles. It happens in life that we hasten along, acquiring beliefs and ideas as expedience would require, and we find ourselves allied with certain folks out of necessity. Finding sufficient utility and harmony therein, we take the truth, fecundity, and of these acquisitions for granted and becoming very comfortable with them. We begin to rely upon them and derive our identity from them, and perhaps rightly so, but perhaps not rightly in every case. So, when a pest like me comes along and begins questioning these things without the approbation of those who believe in them, those very people who feel one and the same with these ideas and belief they feel attacked. Further, they are twice indignant, because they sense that it is their own friend attacking them. To them it's as boorish of me as if I were to accost them argue about the color of the sky, and as rude as if I were to tear their clothes off and begin judging their anatomy.

We all are very want to have reasons for what we believe, and perhaps it is my burden to have an inquisitive nature beyond the norm. Perhaps, I am more offended than most when I am compelled to believe something without reasons. It might be the case that for the sake of their comfort alone that those around me would seek to abridge by peering into all manner of things. This is certainly a possibility. Or, also, maybe it is that some don't want me starting down paths they don't have the time, desire or ability to go down. All these might be the case, but it's not vain. I believe that nothing is in vain for those who love God, because," All things work to the good of those who love God." Still, it seems that somehow others have reaped shame and resentment from my inquiries, which is not my intention at all, and I seek to put an end to it, if possible, with this apology.

I am not favorably inclined to being in any one 'box.' I am a Catholic because I think it corresponds to reality, and one cannot escape reality. For me to not be Catholic would be like giving up my humanity. Someone might say I am certainly in the 'Catholic Box,' but to my mind that would be like saying that I am in the 'Human Box,' because they both correspond to the reality of the material and immaterial. So, such a saying is puerile. What I mean by that I have an aversion to boxes is not that I love being unique, or crave being the 'Devil's Advocate,' or that I am so pathetic as to need to be the center of attention and have recourse to being petulantly contrary; rather what I mean to say is, I heartily attempt to avoid being devoted to or defined by the concepts of others. At least insofar as the finer things are concerned. Though, I am certainly not opposed to giving credit where credit is due and agreeing with them on certain things, even many things. I am politically homeless, I don't care much for novelties, I have no devotion fashion, and I find all the divisions made by humans concerning the natural to be tiresome. I am no partisan, and people seem to know that about me. However, when they realize that includes their partisans, they think," What a mentality!" and attack me or try to justify themselves.

I strive at all times to judge no one, and judge everything. As it is written," Judge not..." and also," He who is spiritual judges all things." Things, you see. I dare to say that I have the endorsement of St. Paul, in the matter, and that I am at least trying to do what is right. However, there come times when we encounter certain things that are so concomitant to individuals, and due to the limitations of our vocabulary to convey ideas, it can happen that it is necessary to make statements regarding individuals. For instance, we might observe someone behaving hypocritically and another being honest, and we might say," If put to it I would choose the honest man over the hypocrite." People might scold, and say that you just judged the two men, but do they do so for the righteous man or the hypocrite? Certainly, for the hypocrite! Who knows why, too. Perhaps, because it is expedient for their own hypocrisies. And do they scold you rightly? No, they do not. You were merely making a statement concerning the pattern of behavior explicit in one, you were not damning him, or indicting everyone from his country, family, or religion. Neither were you suggesting that such a disposition is implicit in the later three. It is perception confined to the particular, not shared by the general.

As stated earlier, however, people who feel quite invested in certain groups are frequently inclined to conflating the general with the particular. They take statements pertaining to the particular to be indictments of the general, and throw down the gauntlet with a sense of righteous indignation. They would be very right to, if the two were conflated in such statements, but it is they who are doing the conflating. They would be right because it would be unjust, for obvious reasons. In either case, they might try to correct you or try to silence you, and if you don't fall silent or don't seem so easily persuaded, they might even attack you or abandon you. Then, only after a great labor of pointing out how you are misunderstood and misrepresented by them, will they grudgingly turn away, as if you shamed them or are a troublemaker, when in truth an apology is due you. They who imagined themselves to be misrepresented, who so vigorously demanded a retraction, make no retraction of their own in the end, though it was they alone who did the misrepresenting. That's not very fair at all, but something I've become accustomed to. It seems there is little in this world quite so as rare as an apology. As St. John Chrysostom said," No one has disturbed thee. You have disturbed thee." I find that proven daily by all.

Impartiality is necessary for contemplation. If you would see what really exists, and if you would know what you really know, you must be impartial. Still, expedition is necessary in human thought. We need not set about reproving ever single thing that supports a specific thing. For instance, we needn't reestablish that God is One, whenever we talk about God. We reason it to be so. However, we must be and should be ready with a defense of the same should one doubt, or should the need arise. We should strive to arrive at the truth by reason, even if we arrived there by other means. That is, if you arrived at a true faith because of sheer hope and a leap of faith, shouldn't you later reason about it and have reasons why it is true? Outside of your emotions and personal experiences, that is. Won't it help you? Certainly. And to do this you must be impartial.

I find it disconcerting when people take impartiality as a sign of disloyalty in friendship. Am I supposed to be loyal to them and not the truth? What do they make themselves out to be? Are they greater than the truth? No, and they wouldn't come out and say so either, but because of insecurity and impatience this is precisely what they do say by distrusting or chastising those who think, speak, or act impartially. Impartiality coupled with reason will arrive at the truth, and if they do not stand in that same spot in their opinions and their actions, then they should be obliged to move themselves to wherever the truth may be. And if there is any doubt about what the inquiry bears out, then they should try again, and again if necessary. Further, it is a very sorry and rotten thing, too, if they should begrudge the person who compelled them to inquiry, or compelled them to move by pointing to whatever a true inquiry bears out.

Finally, most absurd to me is sophistry. I am refreshed to have never seen anyone of my friends engage in it, at least that I can remember. Often a person will chime in on a discussion, as though they know something about the subject, and so you question them on what they know, and they turn out not to have the very knowledge they claimed to be in possession of. And being overly embarrassed by themselves, and often feeling stupid, they hate you for asking for the proof, or the knowledge, as though you were a troublemaker! Sometimes, they are so precipitous as to assume that because you were asking them questions, you yourself knew the answer all along and abusively toyed with them for your own amusement, or worse, for the amusement of an audience. They should be angry with themselves! for soliciting that which they did not have. Again, I can say with some confidence that none of my friends have ever been so reckless as to behave this way; at least with me. If they did, I would be sure to see if they had what they claimed to have, and if not I would reveal their ignorance to them. Why? Because that is true friendship. Friendship pertains to the soul, and there is no friendship in darkening the intellect, or allowing a friend's soul to remain shackled by ignorance in the dark, only in enlightenment and maintenance of the same.

Impartiality, sobriety, moderation, inquisition, and unconditional positive regard... these are justifiable and lead to good things. Every friend owes them to one another, as much as one owes them to himself, because," True friendship is one soul in two bodies." And so I am devoted to these things, because they are prudent, kind and owed. Anyway, it's not my desire be a menace; I only hope that we might correct our mistakes, sober up, and gain the grace of true self-knowledge, and see more accurately how far we have to go. And that's the truth of it.   

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~