Saturday, September 5, 2009

Even MORE from the Meeting...

EDUCATION/ The Teacher as Benefactor: Thoughts on Education as an Event from St Thomas Aquinas

Fr Andrew Davison delivered the following paper for the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples last August in Rimini. The theme of the Meeting was “Knowledge is always an Event”.

You have chosen an excellent title for your meeting. Knowledge is always an event. Knowledge is always something specific and historical; it is always linked to particular people and places, particular experiences and objects. This afternoon I offer you an example so that you can illustrate this from your own history. It is drawn from the topic for this session: education. I give you the example of our teachers and the debt we owe to them. [read the rest here]

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."