This and That

By DeMarco, Donald | The Human Life Review, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

This and That


DeMarco, Donald, The Human Life Review


I commend the reader for the intellectual curiosity that led him to begin reading this article, for I cannot think of a more boring and less attractive title. Yet, not forgetting that you can't judge an article by its title, from the perspective of metaphysics, I cannot think of a more exciting theme or a more captivating topic.

If the reader has not already abandoned ship, allow me to adumbrate the royal significance of this in time, space, and eternity. We live this moment. We ask bread for this day, and are warned against looking back on all those past days that are no longer this, but are a collectivity of thats. We are told that the evil of this day is sufficient thereof. Carpe diem\

With regard to space, no one has written of the glorious thisness of one's spot in the world more eloquently than William Shakespeare. In King Richard II, he writes:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptre'd isle,

This earth of Majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

...

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England ...

This sentiment was echoed by Sir Walter Scott in The Lay of the Last Minstrel when he wrote: "Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,/Who never to himself hath said,/This is my own, my native land!" For Walt Whitman, "Happiness [is] not in another place but this place ... not for another hour, but this hour."

Concerning God and eternity, we are commanded to worship this God and no other. And how often have people preferred to worship that god, the one who promises an easier life? One may wish for tomorrow, and/or desire to leave his country or worship a different god. But one must be warned against failing to appreciate the importance of this that has been given to him in time, space, and eternity.

On the level of the existential, this is who I am; I can be no other. Envy is the temptation to despair about who I am along with the concomitant desire to be another. It is a rejection of me as precisely this person and not anyone else. A sound morality enlightens me about the radical superiority of this over that. A man pledges fidelity to this woman as she pledges her fidelity to this man. We can agree with Freud, despite his icy language, that adultery would be "the overestimation of the unattained sexual object." This is eminently real; that is what taunts my imagination. If I forsake all this, I have no place to stand. Hell is a place where nothing is this to be cherished, and everything is that to be envied. Metaphysics, despite its reputation for being unacceptably abstract, actually rescues me from abstractions. My being that is me is far more real than the being I might dream to be.

At the very core of the abortion issue is a fundamental under-evaluation of this child and an over-evaluation of that one, or the one that arrives not at this time. A direct consequence of this attitude is to lose sight of the fact that each human being, because of the radical uniqueness that he possesses, is irreplaceable, unrepeatable, and inviolable. This child, precisely because it is this child, is untradeable, never to appear again, and eminently worthy of protection against assault.

Richard Dawkins, who is primarily known for his works that deny the existence of God, has stirred a lively controversy in offering his opinion about unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome: "For what it's worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again." This view, despite its newsworthiness, has been proffered by others. Peter Singer, for example, proposed a similar view in his 1995 book, Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics. "We may not want a child to start on life's uncertain voyage if the prospects are clouded," he wrote. …

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