Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zenit: Achieving the Ideal Society
University Professor Explains Thomas More's Utopia

One example of how Utopia is relevant is found in "the need for the careful, studied place of intellectuals in the political life."

"It's really a call for intellectuals, to think about [their role]" in society, explains Dr. Boyle. Thomas More himself exemplified this well, being an intellectual who was deeply involved in the politics of his day. "More was a very smart man, a clear intellectual. Many of his humanist colleagues thought he was wasting his time in government service. But it's not just that he was really smart, he read his Plato, terrific how he would go boss princes around. Rather, his intelligence, his certain understanding of precisely how it is, in the practical realm… works."

"Given the complexity of modern life, the need for solid philosophical principles, at the same time on the firm ground in the practice of politics, in economics, in any number of aspects of culture, seems all the more relevant."

"The political order," Dr. Boyle goes on, "is not the source of our happiness. This is a theological point, but it's very dear to More's heart. The political order can serve to help order men to their happiness, but it cannot achieve it. This is a matter of Church, of the City of God. Political order can more or less help, but it can't achieve what I think, in the modern sense, is the Utopian dream."

I need to read Utopia, but "political order" seems to be rather squishy here because of the word "order." Are we talking about the constitution, the government, the laws (and customs) or something else? None of them are identical to the ultimate end, but some precision may be warranted if we're trying to understand Utopia better.

Dr. John Boyle

From 2009: Lost Aquinas

Rick Garnett, "Growing in Love": Congrats to Susan!

Mr. Garnett hypes Susan Stabile's Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation. Why? The book's description:

In Growing in Love and Wisdom, Susan Stabile draws on a unique dual perspective to explore the value of interreligious dialogue, the essential spiritual dynamics that operate across faith traditions, and the many fruitful ways Buddhist meditation practices can deepen Christian prayer.

Raised as a Catholic, Stabile devoted 20 years of her life to practicing Buddhism and was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun before returning to Catholicism in 2001. She begins the book by examining the values and principles shared by the two faith traditions, focusing on the importance of prayer--particularly contemplative prayer--to both Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. Both traditions seek to effect a fundamental transformation in the lives of believers, and both stress the need for experiences that have deep emotional resonance, that go beyond the level of concepts to touch the heart. Stabile illuminates the similarities between Tibetan Buddhist meditations and Christian forms of prayer such as Ignatian Contemplation and Lectio Divina; she explores as well such guided Buddhist practices as Metta and Tonglen, which cultivate compassion and find echoes in Jesus' teachings about loving one's enemies and transcending self-cherishing. The heart of the book offers 15 Tibetan Buddhist practices adapted to a contemplative Christian perspective. Stabile provides clear instructions on how to do these meditations as well as helpful commentary on each, explaining its purpose and the relation between the original and her adaptation. Throughout, she highlights the many remarkably close parallels in the teachings of Jesus and Buddha.

Arguing that engagement between religions offers mutual enrichment and greater understanding of both traditions, Growing in Love and Wisdom shows how Buddhist meditation can be fruitfully adapted for Christian prayer.
The legacy of the 13th Apostle: origins of the East Christian conceptions of church and state relation (pdf)
James Chastek, Aristotle’s theohedonics (pt. 1)

Waiting for the next part.