Sunday, September 24, 2006

There is a direct path from Francis Bacon, who said, "Knowledge is Power," that the value of all knowing lies in the provision of human life with new discoveries and helps, to Descartes, who in his Discourse on Method explicitly formulated the polemical program to replace the old "theoretical" philosophy with a new "practical" one, through which we could make ourselves "the Lords and Masters of nature" – from there the road leads directly into the well-known saying of Karl Marx, that up until his time philosophy saw its task as one of interpreting the world, but now its task was to change the world...

Meanwhile, our thesis... maintains that true philosophy rests upon the belief that the real wealth of man lies not in the satisfaction of his pleasures, nor, again, in "becoming lords and masters of nature," but rather in being able to understand what is – the whole of what is. Ancient philosophy says that this is the utmost fulfillment to which we can attain: that the whole order of real things be registered in our soul – a conception which in the Christian tradition was taken up into the concept of the beatific vision: "What do they not see, who look upon Him, Who sees all?"

-Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture

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