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"how high"
by Bohdan Yuri
2008-03-11 07:54:20
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how high is it
to the sky above,
asks me why.

I tell it
to remain below
that blue puff
of moving smoke.

it keeps me
about the stars
high above.

will it ever
show me,
what remains
higher than above?

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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 10:16:10
Good poem. Perhaps the answer to its last question lies not so much in looking higher above but in looking deeper within. Consider this intimation, but not as an antithesis but as a complement of sort to the poem:

“The starry heavens above and the moral law within fill the mind with an ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and the more steadily we reflect.”

- Immanuel Kant

As Kant suggested in his epitaph and in Critique of Practical Reason, you can learn a lot by looking at the stars and from the “moral law within.” In the first place, you can learn that there is order in the universe and you are a part of it. God’s creation contains harmony, balance and reason and these three things alone have allowed the human species to do some pretty amazing things. From the “moral law within” we learn that there may be certain immutable truths that guide our moral actions just as systematically as the stars in the sky. Kant is best known for attempting to create a system of ethics based on reason (but not an abstract reason devoid of imagination) and arrives at a formula that comes very close to what Christians call the Golden Rule: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”.
When you combine the harmony of the universe with the reason that drives our need for moral truth, you discover that Man is a pretty amazing creation.

Sand2008-03-11 10:28:04
It is revealing to understand through Kant's wisdom why the world today and throughout history has been filled with peace and harmony by the inner morality of mankind.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 10:52:10
The materialist cynic destitute of spirit and hope cannot but consider the glass half empty because that is the paradygm he operates and lives from: one of scarcity and survival of the fittest. Paradoxically, the same cynic will proclaim that science is making things better and better and never goes backward. The paradygm of cynicism however reveals that he really does not believe it; he is merely using science as an axe to grind against religion about which he only knows shallow caricatures.

Sand2008-03-11 11:07:59
Goodness gracious! My error. The peace and harmony of world evidently has not been governed by humanity's inner morality! My cynical attitude puts me into quandary. Evidently it is religion that has seen to it that mankind has behaved so well down through the ages. It is good I have been so quickly corrected by someone better informed as to the cause of human misbehavior.

Sand2008-03-11 11:18:05
I also stand corrected about evolution since there seems to be so many unfit that have have survived and medicine and physics and technology in general seems to have only gone disastrously downhill since the time of Plato.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 12:08:47
When Aquinas said "I stand corrected" as he did from time to time, that's one thing, but when the cynic says the same I am weary of his sincerity; it may well be nothing but cynical irony. So, the question remains: as part of manking with an historical horizon, are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem?

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 12:16:53
Errata: manking should be mankind.
What is conviniently disregarded in the above reply is what indeed has gone downhill since the times of Plato: the sense of ethics and the the moral law which, as Einstein aptly pointed out, has not kept pace with technological advances. Hopefully neither Kant nor Eistein's books on the subject have been consigned to the bonfire; and even if they have not, even if they are inscribed in one's DNA the effects are the same if they remain unread and ignored by the modern "barbarian of the intellect" parading as Grand Inquisitor of the orthodox enlightened and politically correct a priori assumption.

Sand2008-03-11 13:40:07
Again that mysterious Eistein. He keeps popping up. Was it he who mistakenly proposed that morality was a scientific discipline? Another example of the survival of the unfit.

Sand2008-03-11 13:55:17
Science, it must be admitted by even the most neutral observer, has made some modest gains since Plato, but the movements that seem to have seized the imagination of most of mankind are Christianity and Islam which are very concerned with morality. I wonder if these two great moral movements have something to do with the noted decline in morality. Science is the concern of a much smaller sector of humanity so I find the connection between science and morality rather tenuous.

Sand2008-03-11 14:00:24
I wonder who this "Grand Inquisitor" might be. An inquisitor, after all, is an agent of the Catholic Inquisition so someone who is merely curious about fatuous statements certainly doesn't qualify for that office.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 16:59:39
The Grand Inquisitor is one who in a place where a good percentage of the submissions contain typografical errors (which he also makes) selects one in particular on whose content to cast egregious aspersions simply because he does not agree with, thus showing his bias, intolerance for other points of view, and his authoritarian bullish tendencies.

E.g., this statement by Mr. S. "The peace and harmony of world evidently has not been governed by humanity's inner morality!" is syntactically incorrect. There is a "the" missing before world. To say hat Mr. S. does not know English is to descend to his level of rhetorical trickery and intellectual dishonesty; indeed, it is merely a typografical error.

Sand2008-03-11 17:04:21
Hey man! Really neat! Talk about typos and avoid any mention of the issues. That'll confuse anybody who might wonder about morality, science and religion. Or are they all that stupid out there?

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 17:05:19

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

--Albert Einstein

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-11 17:08:55
"Again that mysterious Eistein. He keeps popping up."

--Mr. S. who is only interested in issues and not at all in argumenti ad hominem...Fat chance!

Sand2008-03-11 17:28:39
And what was old Eistein popping up about? Wasn't there some issue involved? Like science and morality?
The real Einstein indicated that human morality had not kept up with the progress of science. Was that science's fault? Or was it the fault of those disciplines concerned with morality like Christianity and Islam?

Sand2008-03-11 18:05:21
Come off it, Paparella! This holier than thou baloney doesn't do it. You have been just as free and easy with insults as I have except I must admit mine are more creative.

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