Saturday, October 6, 2007

Reflections: What's Wrong With this Weltanschauung?

For the past couple of days, I have been engaged in a lengthy, on-going conversation/disputation at What’s Wrong With the World. That controversy has involved so much frenzied keyboarding that I am loathe to do much more today in support of my own blog. The nature of the argument at WWWtW has, however, exemplified, or at least brought to mind, the kind of cognitive dissonance that I previously discussed here.

While I was discussing cognitive dissonance mainly as a psychological phenomenon, the following excerpt seems to me to discuss the problem from the perspective of its underlying spiritual mechanism. See what you think:

“It does sometimes happen that the flesh turns away from God, but often when we think this has happened it is really the other way round. The soul being unable to bear the deadly presence of God, that searing flame, takes refuge behind the flesh and uses it like a screen. In this case it is not the flesh which makes us forget God, it is the soul which tries to forget God by burying itself in the flesh. This is no longer a question of weakness but of treason, and we are always tempted to this treason so long as the mediocre part of the soul is much stronger than the part that is pure. A fault very slight in itself may be an act of treason of this kind, and in that case it is infinitely worse than faults which are very bad in themselves but which are the result of weakness. Treason is not avoided by an effort, by doing violence to oneself, but by a simple act of choice. It suffices to regard as a stranger and enemy the part of us that wants to hide itself from God -- even if that part is almost the whole of us, even if it is us. We must constantly renew within ourselves the vow of adherence to that part of us which calls for God, even when it is still only infinitely small. This infinitesimal part, so long as we adhere to it, increases exponentially, by a geometrical progression like the series 2,4,8,16, 32, etc., as a seed grows, and this happens without our taking any part in the process. We can arrest this growth by refusing it our adherence, and we can retard it by failing to use our will against the unruly movements of the physical part of the soul. But nevertheless when it does take place this growth takes place in us without any action by us.”

~Simone Weil, On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God, “Some Reflections on the Love of God”

The discussion at WWWtW is an interesting one, btw, and includes a “cutting edge” video clip. You might want to mosey over there and get involved in it.