Saturday, 29 July 2017

Thank Varda

"Christ, Varda, whatever, thank You..."
-SM Stirling, The Tears Of The Sun (New York, 2012), Chapter Thirteen, p. 402.

I offer this kind of prayer. I am thankful for life and for many good things in it. We should certainly thank our ancestors for their legacy. It is at least possible that other powerful beings, unknown to us, also contribute.

I think that our remote ancestors, proto-human beings, became self-conscious individuals, persons, by interacting and conversing with each other. It is therefore natural that they and we have:

internalized speech as thought and shame as guilt;
personified, then verbally addressed, natural forces and Nature;
sometimes, though not always, personified the transcendent (either "He" or "That" in Hinduism).

Since we do not know the names of any hypothetical benefactors, it is legitimate to invoke fictional names like "Varda." Anyone who believes that Varda literally exists is letting their imagination run away with them. Value imagination but do not let it usurp the roles either of intellect or of intuition.

3 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I like Poul Anderson's prayer to the BVM as well! And I certainly agree we should value imagination "...but do not let it usurp the roles of either of intellect or of intuition." But, exactly how is "intuition" different from "imagination"?

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
When we imagine a fictional character, he does not exist. If I suddenly realize something about myself, e.g., that a particular action was wrong/unenlightened/uncompassionate, without having reasoned my way to that conclusion, then that is an intuition.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Thanks! That explains whet seemed slightly odd to me.

Sean