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Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.― Thomas Aquinas
Has there ever been a poet who set out to write the Final Poem, the work that would make superfluous all other poems that ever were or will be? Does any filmmaker want to make the final movie? A novelist the last story? Every scientist would be thrilled to be the first to discover something but do any want to make the last discovery, to declare their field over and complete, to claim that everything has been discovered and explained?
In contrast to ongoing, living, joyful encounters with the fullness of reality and the human experience within it, tyrannies of all kinds invariably seek to impose the final word. They are more about pruning that which does not agree or fit the requisite dogma or narrative than about encouraging a rich, growing diversity of artistic expression and scientific inquiry. Tyrants want to sever the connection with that which inspires art, philosophy, and even science. And like all tyrannies, wokedom instinctively hates wonder.
It is noteworthy that science, the arts, and the US Constitution all resist the notion of a last word by their very nature. We should never run out of wonder and awe and precisely because our limitations make complete capture of reality impossible thus every glimpse of larger truths is that much more precious and the journey endless. No generation will ever reach an endpoint after which future generations would then stop seeking, asking, and wondering.
Great writers not only seem to have fingertip access to every spark of wit and wisdom in Shakespeare, the Bible, and every folk tale popular song, or myth but they also craft metaphors and imagery of their own. In stark contrast, if you read woke tomes, they spew new terminology for sterile ideas but almost never cite or create instances of image-rich literature. Metaphor and reference to art, literature, and history is a mode of mental life that tyrants instinctively hate. That way of looking at the world affirms the existence of larger truths that do not emanate from the narrative and its owners. The absence of wonder, humility, imagery, and joy in the tiresome prose of the woke is diagnostic and itself a warning.
Aquinas said we should fear homo unius libri, the guy who has read only one book and is immersed in it. He will tend to win arguments on his own turf (that book) and simply ignore or reject all else. The equivalent of the one-book guy now runs almost all our universities. Wonder, humility, and inevitably diverse paths of inquiry are being extinguished in education in favor of an attempt to impose the final word in lieu of the experience of wonder and to take away all of the rich tools to enhance that experience that comprise our real cultural heritage.Published in