On Nature and the Nature of Things (Part Two or So)

I’m excited about the Circe conference this year on nature and the nature of things.

This morning on the side porch I began thinking about my last blog and my greatest fear being missing the simple things. I believe that there are several principles that provide a framework, yea, a cure for the problem of missing simple things – and it has everything to do with this year’s Circe conference.

I will enumerate my proposed principles:

1. First and foremost – YOU MUST TAKE TIME. Living a fully human life that has meaning and purpose takes an understanding on the nature of things around you. A sacrifice of time is a must in order to live life – life more abundantly.
2. You must be curious and take note of a thing. Whether it is an object in nature or the soul of a child, part of being human is to pursue our God-given gift of inquiry and curiosity.
3. You must be willing to investigate the nature of a thing. Not only should we embrace our curiosity, but we should act on it by examining things more closely from several angles.
4. You must contemplate. The medievals divided thinking into two categories: the ratio and the intellectus. The ratio referred to the rigorous analytical and discursive thinking that generally break things down into there parts to think about them. But the intellectus was contemplative thinking – savoring things, musing over them and viewing them in relation to other thinks around them. Thinking of nature and the nature of things only through ratio leaves the world 2-D and sterile. Understanding concepts like beauty can only be obtained through contemplation.
5. You must ultimately ask: what is the purpose of a thing – its “telos”. Only then can you see it for what it is and isn’t. Understanding the purpose of something, keeps you from misusing a thing – making too much or too little of a thing.

These principles are not exhaustive, but I believe that noting things all around us in this way leads us to a life of thankfulness and contentment as we revel in and are grateful for the simple things around us.

Again, I can’t wait for this year’s conference.

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