Friday, November 18, 2011

On Quality of Life

From Peter Kreeft's commentary on Blaise Pascal's Pensées called Christianity for Modern Pagans, page 58:

[Pascal writes]: Man's greatness comes from knowing he is wretched: a tree does not know it is wretched.  Thus it is wretched to know that one is wretched, but there is greatness in knowing one is wretched. (No. 114).

[Kreeft writes]: Thus the greatness and high dignity of Greek drama.  It is not only that the wise sufferer is rewarded in the end, like Oedipus (and Job), but that even in the act of suffering well there is dignity, because the suffering is not just a negative event in the physical world but also a positive event in the spiritual world.  By the sufferer's understanding and will, his suffering is granted entrance into this second world.  It becomes not merely an event in space but an event in consciousness.  It is taken up to Heave: the Heaven of thought, even if not the Heaven of bliss.

How utterly low and brutish is the level to which a human mind has to sink before it csn look at an old lady in a nursing home bed suffering some incurable disease and call this life and this suffering "meaningless", lacking in "quality of life".  To call this the "quality of life ethic" is like calling a cannibal a chef.

If this sneeringly snobbish judgment is true of the old lady, it is true a fortiori of Christ.  If her cross of suffering, her death-bed lacks "quality", then His cross and death-tree also lack "quality".

"Quality" is thus used as a professional euphemism for sex and money.  We find this brutish mentality only  in the "upper" classes, the professional and "educated" people, especially journalists and professors, not among the poor, not among real people.  Such "intellectuals" are as intelligent as radical "feminists" are feminine."

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