Moments of Soul: An Inquiry into Personal Attraction

Moments of Soul: An Inquiry into Personal Attraction

Moments of Soul: An Inquiry into Personal Attraction

Moments of Soul: An Inquiry into Personal Attraction

Excerpt

I ask you to join me in thinking about soul, so we may discover humanity at its best and use our knowledge of soul to live well together. We never perceive soul directly, and images of it are misleading, but we have evidence of soul in our best moments, when we are attracted to another person for our mutual good. These moments of personal attraction are more than random contacts between individuals, for they discover beauty in other persons and reveal our good in being with them. My purpose in this inquiry is to distinguish these moments of soul, so they may become foremost in our thinking and help us correct the mistakes of ignoring soul or making false images of it.

Why do you need to think about soul? Why not ignore it as in behavioral science, or accept an image of it as in traditional religion? “Most thought-provoking in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.” Heidegger's answer is a paradox because the mark of our times is the spread of knowledge. The knowledge age burst upon us with the atom bomb, the product of an extraordinary concentration of knowledge forced by war, and like nuclear fallout the spread of knowledge has continued ever since through communication technology. Not only the objective knowledge of science, and the productive knowledge of technology, but also the personal knowledge of human affairs is widespread. This spread of knowledge, which threatens to degrade the relation of knower to known, requires us to think about soul, about humanity, about being. We need to think about soul in order to comprehend how personal attraction helps us discover our good. Only this knowledge of our good gives us power to live well together. The spread of knowledge without thought of soul gives conflict, subjugation, or pride, depending upon its degree of imperfection.

In our times we should be pluralists in our study of soul, in order to comprehend several distinctive powers of humanity connected with soul . . .

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