Saturday, February 10, 2007

St. Thomas, you win again.

Even pusillanimity may in some way be the result of pride: when, to wit, a man clings too much to his own opinion, whereby he thinks himself incompetent for those things for which he is competent. Hence it is written (Proverbs 26:16): "The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that speak sentences." For nothing hinders him from depreciating himself in some things, and having a high opinion of himself in others. Wherefore Gregory says (Pastoral. i) of Moses that "perchance he would have been proud, had he undertaken the leadership of a numerous people without misgiving: and again he would have been proud, had he refused to obey the command of his Creator."

Summa II-II 133, 1 ad 3.
I've been pondering the virtues of late, particularly fortitude, and especially in the context of the Catholic faith and its critics. At Chicago, I was an awful beast of conceit, convinced of my own arguments (more so than convinced of the thing itself) and certain that I could convince the Other after a few more rounds. But at Berkeley, I've transformed into something quite different; I've begun to instinctively retreat from any controversy involving the hard sayings of the Church. (Worse, I've become embarrassed by those who do publicly defend the Church, because I fear being lumped together with them. For that there's simply no excuse.)

As you might have witnessed, the objective content of this blog has declined accordingly. I've ceased to make the naive pronouncements and quasi-aphoristic claims that were my Intertubes raison d'etre; instead, this has become excusively a domain of personal worries, webcomic links and threatened arson (OK, I don't regret that post).

For a while, I've wanted to go back and recapture that feeling of glory and confidence in debate. But that's not what's asked of me, any more than is my retreat into silence and triviality. What's asked of me, insofar as I have anything at all to say, is to look to the truth and leave behind both these extremes of pride: the pride of presumption and the pride of despair.

Of course, dear Reader, you know well just how diligent I've been in keeping prior resolutions of life and mind- particularly the qualitative ones.

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