Seeing

Thinking about that tag of Aquinas – whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver – or something similar. It is obvious at one level. A dog sees things as a dog, a cat as a cat, etc. It is less obvious when it comes to people. It is noticeable in matters of race, nationality or gender, it is less obvious and more difficult to explain when it comes to attitudes to life and questions of meaning. What is the difference between a saint and an ordinary person? It is not the case that both see life similarly and that one chooses the path of heroic virtue and the other does not. It is more subtle than that. The difficulty for the ordinary person (if there is such an animal) is that he cannot see things other than as an ordinary person. The challenge is first to become aware of this limitation; to come to see that there are other modes of being, some better, some worse, and that it is possible to change modes. Better in what way? Better in the sense of being more happy and fulfilled, in the sense of knowing, in the sense that one comes to be rather than to have, is proactive rather than reactive, in the sense that one draws nearer to the truth.

(Quidquid recipitur secundum modum recipientis recipitur.)

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