In a recent entry on this blog, Thoughts and Actions in Human Morality, I spoke about my decision to write serious books, self-deluded into the belief that agents and editors and publishers were looking for challenging novels. This decision has led to many years of low-income or no-income at all. I’m probably committed to my current path given my age and the economic situation in the United States, but the issue isn’t settled in my imagination. I had this to say about my efforts to resolve myself to my decision:
In my heart of hearts — my spirit, I’m unconvinced of the truth of my own teachings in this matter, but my mind is convinced and my body moves forward by habits formed in deliberate disregard of the immediate consequences. My softer parts, overly self-conscious and overly aware of my self, are being dragged along.
As I was writing this, I remembered a description I’d read of the efforts of St. Thomas Aquinas (and I believe his friend St. Bonaventure) to restore respect for the mind in Christianity. As I recall, some of the radicals of that period (circa 1230) were claiming a Christian preacher didn’t need a well-formed mind; he needed only to be filled with the spirit.
What is this spirit? Enthusiastic it is, so far as I can judge. Conscious of itself for sure and perhaps conscious of God but likely conscious only of some humanly sensed divinity rather than the God who revealed Himself to His prophets and priests and kings. This spirit also pays little attention to human literature or to bodies of scientific learning.
Christianity, more than any other religion, is founded upon reason because the world is being continually shaped to the purposes of the same God who had created the world’s underlying stuff from nothing. The Almighty is telling a story which makes sense both in terms of physical events and moral purpose. Our duty, as the people of God, is to shape our minds to that story God is telling. We must try to understand not only the narrative but also the underlying stuff of our bodies and our food and the sun which warms us.