Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tasting Truth As It Is

"A wiseman is one to whom things taste as they are". A saying from the Middle Ages. I pause here to steal a moment of free form reflection. Implied in the statement is an oughtness to taste. What is rejected is the kind of rejection of judgment of taste by some forms of utilitarianism such as that of Sedgwick.

What this and all my subsequent reflections must not be is a perishing into mere words, a kind of low mental rearranging of words, outside of the purview of life. Modern vogue ways of knowing seem largely to adopt an Enlightement division of knowledge and action and, as Hamann noted of Mendelssohn, tend to cut them into two dead halves. That is a splitting of prudence right down the middle in the name of knowledge.

I think implied in the quote is a view of wisdom which encompasses the soul and emotions. Right emotions in the face of things. But all this is rather convicting (and probably hard to follow). One can talk about virtue but actually trieing to live virtuously is, to one bent, monstrous. Beyond sorting through the facts and getting to controlling principles there is a deeper place in which virtue has its roots. It is that deeper face that provides the context for the virtuous principles. Otherwise, the abstract principles are just deadly. The touch of the Spirit of God provides the context out of which order may arise.

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