Wednesdays with Words: Love or Use

Should humans use each other or enjoy each other? In what way should they love themselves? Which of the things to be used should be loved? Is it possible to hate oneself? Can all people be loved equally in practice? Does the commandment to love one’s neighbour apply to the angels? Does God, in loving us, enjoy us or use us?”

Oxford World’s Classics edition of Augustine On Christian Teaching
RPH Green, pg xii

The world exists, not for what it means but for what it is. The purpose of mushrooms is to be mushrooms; wine is in order to wine: Things are precious before they are contributory. It is a false piety that walks through creation looking only for lessons which can be applied somewhere else. To be sure, God remains the greatest good, but, for all that, the world is still good in itself. Indeed, since He does not need it, its whole reason for being must lie in its own good ness; He has no use for it; only delight.

The Supper of the Lamb
Robert F Capon

All teaching is teaching of either things or signs, but things are learnt through signs. What I now call things in the strict sense are things such as logs, stones, sheep, and so on, which are not employed to signify something; but I do not include the log which we read that Moses threw into the bitter waters to make them lose their bitter taste, or the stone which Jacob placed under his head, or the sheep which Abraham sacrificed in place of his som. These are things, but they are at the same time signs of other things. There are other signs whos whole function consists in signifying. … So, every sign is also a thing, since that which is not a thing does not exist. Bit it is not true that every thing is also a sign. … There are some things which are to be enjoyed, some which are to be used, and some whose function is both to enjoy and use. Those which are to be enjoyed make us happy; those which are to be used assist us and give us a boost, so to speak, as we press on towards our happiness, so that we may reach and hold fast to the things which make us happy.

On Christian Teaching
Augustine, Book 1 lines 4~7

The books are talking. Nearly shouting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.