Sunday, May 29, 2011
Perceptional Cognition and Abstract Cognition and Holiness
I think not, because giving away or renouncing use of something you have is quite different from never having it in the first place. For example, it has long been thought to be good to be voluntarily poor, like St. Francis. However, to be poor out of circumstance rather than by choice is not seen as being a good thing, although not necessarily a culpable evil either. So using this analogy, a man who lays down his abstracting cognitive powers in order to live in the present is like the man who is voluntarily poor, and his reward is similar- the peace of God. The man who is poor but not by choice is analogous to the animal with pre-abstracting (perceptional) cognition. He does not reap the full benefits of separation from the world although he does perhaps escape the slavery to possessions. The poor are said to be much more generous than the rich, perhaps because they have less to lose.
In the end the man who seeks to follow Christ will indeed lay down his very life, giving all that he has. The Stoics see life as an indifferent as it is not something in our control. The Christian must see it similarly. Our life is not our own, we must die like the seed buried in the ground in order to live. If you grab onto your life, like the abstracting cognitive mind does with the past suffering remembered and the future anticipated, then you will lose your life. By giving it up you gain life. By giving up worry for the unreal future and the no longer real past you gain joyful or at least peaceful possession of the only time that is actually real- the present. What a glorious achievement!