The philosopher vs. the poet

In Chesterton’s The Man Who was Thursday, two characters, the Secretary and Gregory Syme, illustrate the contrast between the two archetypes of “the philosopher” and “the poet”:

“For if the Secretary stood for that philosopher who loves the original and formless light, Syme was a type of the poet who seeks always to make the light in special shapes, to split it up into sun and star. The philosopher may sometimes love the infinite; the poet always loves the finite. For him the great moment is not the creation of light, but the creation of the sun and moon.” –G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who was Thursday 

The Provincialism of Relativism

“Where in fact do we find, outside certain circles of present-day Western society, any value position which does not rest on theoretical premises of one kind or another–premises which claim to be simply, absolutely, universally true, and which as such are legitimately exposed to rational criticism? I fear that the field within which relativists can practice sympathetic understanding is restricted to the community of relativists who understand each other with great sympathy because they are united by identically the same fundamental commitment, or rather by identically the same rational insight into the truth of relativism. What claims to be the final triumph over provincialism reveals itself as the most amazing manifestation of provincialism.” — Leo Struass, “Social Science and Humanism”

The self-contradiction of relativism

“[Relativism’s] so-called sympathetic understanding necessarily and legitimately ends when rational criticism reveals the untruth of the position which we are attempting to understand sympathetically; and the possibility of such rational criticism is necessarily admitted by relativism, since it claims to reject absolutism on rational grounds.” –Leo Strauss, “Social Science and Humanism”

Generous creation

“God brought things into being, not because He was in any way obliged to do so, but out of pure generosity” (Deus ex nullo debito, sed ex mera liberalitate res in esse produxit). Aquinas, SCG 2.44.15.

Serious play

“to labor for the sake of play seems foolish and too childish. But to play in order that one might be serious… seems to be right…” (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 10.6.1176b32-3)