Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Pendulum Effect of Human Nature

It seems that human nature tends to move from one extreme to the other in a sort of pendulum. We often see these extremes as being opposites. While I am not advocating an abandonment of the law of non-contradiction, ( and in fact, I firmly uphold it, I am advocating a synthesis of thought or approach.

I can best illustrate this from a Christian theological perspective. There are two mindsets that I am seeing within the church. One is to approach God as a systematic series of propositions. While this perspective affirms absolute truth, (affirmed by the law of non-contradiction) it sublimes the relational aspect of God’s revealed absolute truth. You can’t relate to God, any more than you can relate to people by reducing that relationship down to a formulaic recipe of propositional truths.

The second approach is a visceral approach that often moves to the extreme of emphasizing feelings, emotions and experience over analytical thought itself.

I am a musician. As a musician, I have found that the best way (not the only way) of being a good musician is to think of music with both the right (analytical) and left (visceral/creative) sides of the brain. A really good musician can take the systematic rules of music theory (propositional truth) that give us key signatures, modes, time signatures, chords, intervals, arpeggios, scales, etc., and can apply them with creatively (left brain) in ways that produce fantastic music. This is what I mean by advocating a synthesis in approach.

I believe that music (as well as any other system) reflects truths found in the deepest questions of life itself. If I am right, than this would mean that we live in a world designed for us to interact and relate to it in a dynamic way (left-brain). But at its deepest core foundations, we should find truth that is propositional, and absolute, and the ultimate absolute is God Himself.

The question is, do people bury their heads in the sand, doing all they can to be diverted from asking the deepest questions of life because they inherently know that at life’s deepest cores, God is there?

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