In a strange moment today I looked back over my history of relationships with women; and with the thought and mental image of each one I felt what can only be described as love. Each of them smiled at me in my mind; I smiled back, and we shared just one fleeting moment of pure, honest love.
All of this philosophy, both here and in my academic life, can lead to a certain hardening. We debate, we define, we judge. Our keen (and at times not-so-keen) intellect gives us position, structure, form, and in our more foolish moments, a sense of certainty. But it really is such a gray area – it can obfuscate as much as it may illuminate the reality which is always necessarily beyond it.
But I love it, this wisdom, this light of the intellect. It has been said so many times, though not often heard, ‘the ills of the world begin with ignorance and end with love‘. Or, as Socrates puts it, “to know the good is to do the good.” Love, goodness, and knowledge don’t always come easily to us. In fact I would say true love, true goodness, and true knowledge are extremely difficult to attain. We’re too often blinded by desires or dislikes, we follow our libido or the dictates of authority. So we need to debate, to define, to sharpen our skills of judgment.
Yet it is so important that we learn and grow and philosophize not for the sake of our desires/dislikes/authority figures, but for the sake of Truth itself, or on the same par as Truth: the Good and the Beautiful. Each of these is irreducible, and each is beyond our attempts to grasp or represent it.
Truth is beyond reason,
the Good is beyond love, and
the Beautiful is all art.
So we’re humble; and in those moments when Truth, Goodness, and Beauty express themselves through us we can only smile and know that we must be doing something right.