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 Something Else

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Anthony van der Spek
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PostSubject: Something Else   Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:58 am

SOMETHING ELSE

When considering, in a former essay, things that are common to the human condition, five essential qualities or properties seemed to stand out. These five—time, reason, life, morality and faith—, I believe, are imperatives in the sense that we all have to grapple with the way they dominate our lives and our perceptions of the way things are. Whether we have a theistic faith or not these five impinge on every aspect of our being.

In the essay I did suggest that there may be more to consider. A comment from a friend drew my attention to ‘beauty’. This is an attempt to include the quality of beauty or its appreciation as part of what makes us human. But I have to say, I’m not sure that it fits into the algorithm. It may belong to a broader group which, to my mind, provides a frame of reference for the algorithm.

Let me start again on a different tack. If I were to attribute ‘beauty’ to one of the categories or qualities aforementioned, I would struggle. Instead, I’d be inclined to attach it to a sixth quality labelled ‘other’. And this sixth group would contain all that we appreciate aesthetically, including the lilt, melody, rhythm and emotion of music, the pathos of imagination, the grandeur of a landscape, the awe we experience witnessing nature from the mightiest forces to the minutest midge. Not only that, the ‘other’ would include the sense of the spiritual—the invisible creation—, the echo of God’s image in our souls and the realm of hope that instigates a desire for better and a concept of the ideal.

This separation of aesthetics, hope and spirituality (for want of better terms) from the imperatives is more to do with the notion of a frame of reference. It is the driving force, the motivation for searching for an algorithm. So, in one way, it is different from the five. It probably is the cause of our search for a solution, or our search for a method to understand the way things are.

So, when we are caught up in the beautiful, when nuances of hope prompt us to look for a brighter, more prosperous, happier future and when our own self-awareness hints at something lasting, something eternal, are we reflecting the image of our eternal God?

Some would say there are pragmatic physiological explanations for our responses to beauty. And, it’s likely that neurological causal reasons have been theorised. Yet this appreciation, this desire to depict and portray a harmony of colour or sound and to communicate a message or an emotion through the arts speaks to me of a higher calling.

I believe we are the offspring of an imaginative, creative God. He weaves his story into creation and history, and into our lives. Is it any wonder that in some small way we emulate his creativity, we luxuriate in the beauties of his hand. We are his children and long to be with him.

Solomon could say: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecl 3:11

1Jn 3:1-3. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Perhaps God searches us out as His presence resonates with us in the visible and invisible creation and draws our attention to the five imperatives.
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