Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Glimpse from outside

"Beauty can be a shallow thing, but not nearly so shallow as thought can be."
A quote from Lord Henry, a character in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Now, I've always had a mixed opinion of Oscar Wilde; his views and quotes can make me chortle at his cleverness or roll my eyes at his aesthetically structured lifestyle. However, this particular quote has always stuck with me for reasons entirely apart from what the writer had in mind, which would probably have given Mr. Wilde a laugh anyway.
Beauty is purely aesthetic. It can exist for its own sake, and makes people happy in and of itself. Thought has a purpose. When you think, it is about something. It may be about something inane or clever, but you have an objective in mind that relates to what you're thinking about.

However, it is my understanding that people have discovered an aesthetic use for thought. This had me flabberghasted and curious when I first heard about it, so in my naivete I decided I would learn things about it.
I first noted the phenomenon a long time ago when, in a conversation with my two closest friends in the whole wide world, Sean and Josh, did mention to me their mutual atheism and their dismay in the face of my stubborn and obstinate observance what is at this point my collection of religions, centering around a New Yorker Friendly version of Roman Catholicism. They pointed out atrocities that the allegedly good individual God had permitted to be wrought on earth, I counter with the argument that it's for the same reason our parents don't wipe our bottoms for us at the age of 18, and so on. And eventually both sides said all they had without convincing anyone and, traditionally and for practical reasons, this would be where both sides contented themselves with what they'd learned of the other's perspective and moved on.
However, they persisted with the matter almost distressingly so, a majority of their arguments relating to what they'd heard elsewhere on the internet. At the time I was very hurt, not only that their opinion of my views were as such but that the internet, the company of whom I'd always enjoyed and had believed the feeling to be mutual, regarded such a lifestyle as passe.

And so we come to what I referred to initially.

Yes, it would appear that the theistic lifestyle has fallen out of fashion, and if I desire to be hip and with it I'd best don the rich and luxurious lifestyle of the atheist, as mandated by our mutual and to this day well respected acquaintance, the internet. The joke, ultimately, is on them; this popular intellectualism, this aesthetic thought that is emulated because it's what all the smart people are thinking these days, frowns upon religion in general and christianity in particular. Hence, finding myself in a niche where fashion finds me at fault, I find myself a good deal more comfortable with my faith than I was prior to their scrutiny.

"I'm sick of quotes. Tell me what you know."

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