Archive for the ‘humanity seeking transcendence’ Category

I only lack one thing – I do not know how to describe it. But in my life there is a void that is impossible to satisfy

October 29, 2009

My life is what I have dreamed of. Films, marriage to Carlo, bearing his children. Marvellous. I only lack one thing – I do not know how to describe it. But in my life there is a void that is impossible to satisfy.

Sophia Loren

A man’s physical hunger does not prove that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist

October 7, 2009

…we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy. A man’s physical hunger does not prove that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist.

In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. A man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called “falling in love” occurred in a sexless world.

Here, then is the desire, still wandering and uncertain of its object and still largely unable to see that object in the direction where it really lies.

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Turbulent, restless, inwardly raging – I shall always be – hungry for your God and blaspheming him. I could pour forth a flood of worship – the longing for religion is at times almost unbearably strong

October 7, 2009

I long to have the inward poise that you have,'( Bertrand Russell said to Lady Ottoline Morrell, his lover and a believer in God) but that is not for me. I shall never have it while I am alive. Turbulent, restless, inwardly raging – I shall always be – hungry for your God and blaspheming him. I could pour forth a flood of worship – the longing for religion is at times almost unbearably strong.

Bertrand Russell, in Ray Monk,Bertrand Russell: Spirit of Solitude, p.243

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you

October 7, 2009

The human heart is never satisfied.

Chinese saying

There is a god-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.

Pascal

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

St. Augustine, Confessions, Bk.1.1.1

The fallen duplicity of man is that he simultaneously seeks after God his Maker and flees from God his Judge

October 7, 2009

…religious activity…gives us the illusion of having met and satisfied (God). (Man’s) religiosity is a subtle escape from the God he is afraid and ashamed to meet. The fallen duplicity of man is that he simultaneously seeks after God his Maker and flees from God his Judge.

Christopher J. H. Wright, “The Christian and Other Religions: The Biblical Evidence,” Themelios 9:2 (1984): 5

To extract the skylark’s song out of granite rock

September 10, 2009

And meaning, what is that? Have you ever pondered meanings? We talk of the import or
meaning of this thing or that, the meaning of a poem, the meaning of a scientific concept, of a political event. Where are these to be found in nature? Only in us. They cannot be exhumed or distilled out of material movements. As well endeavor to extract the skylark’s song out of granite rock, or honey from the salt seas. They are not resident in physical things, or to be expressed in the terminology of the laboratories. Meanings are the exclusive property of conscious selves and continuing selves. “Though the universe encompasses me,” wrote Pascal, “by thought I encompass the universe.” What are we to understand by this? Despite its stupendous immensity, the universe is not aware either of me or of itself. I, in my insignificance, am aware of myself and of the world. Is it possible, this paradox, this preposterous, unbelievable thing? For it declares that you and I possess a supreme talent denied to the universe. We are awake as nothing else in creation is awake. The
most enigmatical, indescribable, undeniable attribute of the self is its awareness. How can such an awakening ever at all or anywhere come about? Can material things, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, water, lead, stone, electrons or protons, or any combinations of such things become conscious of themselves? Can the stream rise above its source or the result outsoar its cause? Can carbon recognize itself as carbon, or say “Ah, here is hydrogen”? If not, beside them we are as gods, looking down from the Olympian battlements of consciousness upon the
senseless nonentities which neither know nor care to know what they are or what they do.
Before you dismiss the self as irrelevant you will do well to ponder this, its aristocratic prerogative, which makes all else by comparison a negligible cipher.

W. Macneile Dixon, The Human Situation

Drug use and the search for meaning

September 9, 2009

Young people are free to conquer the world, and they don’t want it. Material prosperity has not made life meaningful. The hunger for love and real meaning are the forces behind the psychedelic revolution…The (drug) experience is as far removed from Reality as is a mirage from water…But the search is real enough.

Dr. Allan Cohen, one of the originators of the psychedelic movement, in Michael Green, Jesus Spells Freedom, p.36

Man’s Quest for Meaning

September 9, 2009

We find ourselves in a bewildering world. We want to make sense of what we see around us and to ask: What is the nature of the universe? What is our place in it and where did it and we come from? Why is it the way it is?…Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, author of the best-seller A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, (1988, p. 171, 174).

Running to and from God at the same time

September 8, 2009

The religious and moral life of man is man’s achievement, but also God’s wrestling with him; it manifests a receptivity to God, but at the same time an inexcusable disobedience and blindness to God…Man seeks God and at the same time flees from Him in His seeking, because his self-assertive self-centredness of will, his root- sin, always breaks through.

Hendrik Kraemer, The Christian Message, p.112

A wretched creature who can yet apprehend perfection

September 7, 2009

…man is in no sense perfect but a wretched creature who can yet apprehend perfection.

T.E. Hulme (1883-1917)