Galesburg, Overpass #4
Again, just a little overwhelmed by details. And then my browser went wonky and acts as though it's my doing, which makes me not want to be here. I'm not sure it's worth talking about.
from the comments below:
"Love triggers a search for the One whom we cannot see--for I cannot see
love. I cannot love my brother if I do not know who he is--we've got to be very
intelligent to avoid hurting someone. " [my quotation, below, of Fr
"Oh, but the key to loving someone is not to know him or her - it is to be
absorbed in them. True, it is a tricky proposition, for how do we maintain our
identity in the immersion? It's paradoxical - I suppose identity in difference
is the key here. Well, maybe I'm being too picky, but this knowledge thing is
problematic for me. Our knowing is finite and contradictory, just like our
senses. I think the faculty of love is exercised through other means. But maybe
Fr. Didier means a different kind of knowing..." [K's response]
There is, at the heart of the Brothers' mystical teachings, an emphasis on practical knowledge, which is grounded concretely in sensible experience. Experience always leads me back to my humanity, to my existence as body, which does, yes, remind me of my finitude, but which does also give me intelligent access to the world around me and the people in it. The practical realms of knowledge, art and ethics--or more concretely, work and friendship--are realms I learn through experience. Of course I can't know my friend thoroughly: she will always remain an unfolding mystery to me. But I can get to know her well enough that I can understand what might hurt her or what engages her or what she feels--these are all things I learn about her through an experience of her friendship, and this experience, if I am truly sensible of her as a person, makes me intelligent towards her and her concerns. If I am to immerse myself in her, lovingly, I cannot do it possessively, for then I am treating the friendship as though it is my work, my doing, an end I have proposed. Friends give themselves to one another as much as possible, but because we are distinct in body, mind, and spirit, this immersion can never be complete.
The point, I suppose, is that intelligence is linked to spiritual wisdom, but because body and spirit are one, intelligence cannot be exercised without the practical knowledge that body brings. This is one of the reasons why sexual union is considered sacred--why the body is a temple, etc.
What the intelligence receives through sensible experience will determine my sense of reality. My realism can become very distorted or disordered if I am inclined towards loving things and people ideally, imaginatively or emotionally, according to my own concerns rather than for what and who they are in reality. And despite my sense that I cannot trust my senses, despite the fact that I will often get things and people wrong, it is less a consequence of my experience tricking me than a consequence of my failure to be oriented towards the other. As much as possible, I want my interior life to correlate to reality.
The faculty of love is exercised through the intelligence, but the intelligence is informed by sensible experience--which of course opens another can of worms, for then I must surely guard against fostering experiences that might distort my sense of reality, as well as guard against indulging fantasies that will potentially do violence to what is real.