Those early Church Fathers and modern thinkers show distinct differences in their use of the words discriminate and indiscriminate. Today, our use of the word, “discriminate” has been morphed. It’s intransitive sense has become best known. Our growing refusal to accept that socially negative use of the word ‘to discriminate’, I embrace. We are on the mark and yet, simultaneously, wrong. We are going about a life-long struggle to undo a prejudiced use of the same word’s transitive verb form.
Our brains naturally seek to distinguish between things which, also, means to discriminate between and among differences. At it’s best, we are able to recognize where the sidewalk becomes the curb, dropping on down onto the road. Being able to judge between the sidewalk and road are critically necessary and more so than avoiding a ticket for jaywalking. Our being able to demarcate between two types of paths is valuable.
Let’s suppose that I am obsessive enough to never leave the block my abode sets within. Only a few in my past client load came close to this problem. Nonetheless, keep with me and suppose my refusal to cross the street on any of those four sides was because of fear, fear of being run over.
What’s the problem? My being able to discriminate between the sidewalk and roadway isn’t. It might have its’ origin in my being unwilling to take the chance of being run over like my best friend, decades ago, was. Or perhaps, it has everything to do with my things being stolen. But then, I could also be more afraid of things beyond my precious block. Then, again, it might have everything to do with some internal problem with my neural tissue. I see none of these as essentially wrong.
To me, the Church Fathers were serious about distinguishing among behaviors, thoughts and even feelings. Each level of our experiences play out from its broadest base, our unconsciousness, on up through behaviors, feelings and finally out into our thoughts. However, I have come to see that a vast array of psychosocial conflicts are over that transitive fashion we now favor in the word discriminate.
We seem to have given up the idea that we can discriminate among and between the particulars of those things we live in favor of how we misinterpret fellow humans. I have no problem with that shifting because of the nature of language. Yet, our sharing with one another that positive parsing of verbs and thought as we are all capable of is as essential. So then, being able to tell one dimension of behavior or thought from another without exclusively focusing on the negative is crucial.
The same is true in reading works from our past. It is necessary that as we read works from other time frames we do not display a bias. Hearing their words, as if, our fashion of interpreting things perfectly dissects is flawed. So then, if you happen to be reading collections of works like the Philokalia consider not fitting their use of words exclusively into your own time. Rather, learn to positively fit yourself into their’s.