Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meditation in a Tool Shed

In “Meditation in a Tool Shed” C.S Lewis describes two ways that people tend to explain something. We either look at a situation or we look along a situation. Rarely do people look both ways though. Lewis gives a few great examples that require describing situations both internally and externally. The one I like the most is a young man in love; his world is turned upside down when he meets this lady and he feels a joy that’s very new to him. Internally he is in “in love,” and he is in love with a young woman who embodies perfection. However, from the outside a scientist can describe the man’s experience as merely an act of genes and biological stimulus. The woman too does not portray perfection or anything close to it, from a passerby. I think this example really shows that you cannot look at something and know it, nor can you be in a situation and know it completely. A scientist may study the concept of love and understand exactly how it works biologically, but unless he or she has actually experienced love it will not be fully comprehended. It goes the other way around as well; to experience love is to know about love first.

I’ve always hated science, probably because there’s only room for one right answer. However, I think it’s important to have a mix of science and experience in our lives. My relationship with God for example could not exist without theology as well as personal encounters. I can read books written by people who have studied God for years and be very knowledgeable about Him, but I do not think I could be a Christian without both looking at Him and looking along with Him. Since this is a course about developing a Christian mind, I think it was smart to start with this reading. It introduces a way of analyzing that might not be familiar with all of us. We are probably not even aware when we come to a conclusion about something that we are using our own bias to construct an argument. Being Christians we are already bias in our view, since we hold a belief that not everyone else holds. We base ideas on stories that, from the inside, we all agree as truths; others on the outside read the same stories as fictional pieces.

Although I enjoyed this, I was left hanging, waiting for an answer from Lewis. He sets us up to believe that we are fighting these two views when we should be embracing both of them, but he does not tell us how to do this. “You cannot have a proof that no proofs matter.” So what are we to do? Are we supposed to go along knowing that there is no absolute Truth, but instead, many individual truths? I like the picture we drew in class about the beam of light and the tree and our eyesight and how all of it is dependent on the greater power of the sun. It is like we have all these truths that may not be completely true, but they all stem from the greatest truth that is God.

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