Jun 17, 2017
When I entered grammar school aged five, one of the great names that I was soon acquainted with were Plato and Aristotle. Clearly both of them conquered time, and are acknowledged to be two of the greatest minds that the human race has produced. Yet, we must acknowledge that talented as they were they were not protected from error. The human mind is great and noble, clearly capable of finding truths; skepticism refutes its own arguments because if they were valid, it would prove that the human mind is capable of reasoning flawlessly. Our task is to acknowledge its capacity to reach truth, while warning us that we should always remain aware of its limits and imperfections. Not only are there truths inaccessible to the human mind such as supernatural truths which need to be revealed (i.e. that God is a Trinity) but also in the domain accessible to us we should never forget that self-assurance, pride, intellectual "arrogance" can lead us into error.
Socrates also reminds us that much as we know or believe to know, what we do not know is infinitely larger. This is why this noble and great thinker knew that "he knew not." When a truth is clearly perceived, the response should be gratitude; indeed the human mind should be grateful that it has been given the capacity of reaching certainty. Alas, many a thinker instead of giving this uplifting response, is often tempted to "inflate" itself by the idea that, with time, he will know all things. This was the arrogant claim of Feuerbach, a German thinker of the 19 century, that led him to the conviction that man, having reached maturity, and liberated himself from the diapers in which the dark mediaeval mind had imprisoned itself in is now legitimately entitled to call himself god. But if this were true, it is surprising indeed that this god feels the need to proclaim it – to be god should be sufficient, to do so sounds as if he needed to reassure himself!
This leads me back to Aristotle, a gift of Greece to humanity. Yet this great mind made some serious errors which have been inherited by his disciples, rightly impressed by his genius. He tells us that the human male is superior to the human female – a prejudice gleefully endorsed by the machismo attitude – because he is active and she is only passive. Activity being clearly superior to passivity, this claim has been inherited by his disciples and admirers and has led to the masculine superiority complex.
When God created male and female, He in no way created one superior to the other: they were clearly complementary, enriching one another. The fullness of the human person is to be found in both of them together. Yet it is worth remarking that whereas Adam's body was made from the slime of the earth, the one of Eve was taken from a human person – a fact which gives the female body a special dignity. Who would not prefer to have a body made from a human person, and not from the slime of the earth?