And what prompted this restart was what I found, a little earlier this morning, on the WordPress page Life on Dover Beach. Over the past few years, I have been wandering over there and finding quotes and ideas worthy of musing and even being captured.
“If a man insults me, kills my father, my mother, my brother, and then gouges out my eye, as a Christian it is my duty to forgive him. We who are pious Christians ought to love our enemies and forgive them. We ought to offer them food and drink, and entreat God for their souls. And then we should say: ‘My God, I beseech Thee to forgive me, as I have forgiven my enemies.’”
– St. Kosmas Aitolos
That morning’s, Dover Beach, presentation is definitely praise worthy. You see, I came to understand forgiveness as a risky enterprise. My ilk look down on empathy, I see the same surrounding forgiveness. Being one of those who has kept his eyes tramping through the works of E. O. Wilson, I found it helpful to read: The Social Conquest of Earth and most recently, “The Evolution of Eusociality” in Nature. You see, his earlier works denied any sense of empathy. Today, though, he has picked the issue St. Kosmas Aitolos put before us.
However, I had read part way through Pathological Altruism a couple of years ago and need to get back to this collection of works by different scientists. At first, I had picked this book up, only to metaphorically, stick my tongue out at it’s authors. I figured those characters were only attempting to dissuade us from seeing things as E. O. Wilson had framed organic life within. But, as I found thoughts such as, “Much of what is called “altruistic” behavior in nature can have self-serving, kinship, or game-based roots that we should not ignore simply out of aesthetic Puritanism.“, I knew a deep disquiet.
What St. Kosmas Aitolos advocates is exactly what efforts to grasp hold of evolution says, ‘no’ to. But then, isn’t St. Aitolos’ advocation exactly what the Eastern Orthodox Church means as it owns the physical while resolutely saying that our physical self is not the full definition of that self.