Monday, May 28, 2012

Alter Ipse Amicus

There once was a woman  I loved too much.
She was  a Christian -- which was good -- and I, not yet:  which may in part explain (while it does not excuse) my foolishness.

Anyhow.  She recommended a book, A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken.  I didn’t enjoy it much, as it turns out;  the recommendation is not transitive;  but it does make one valid and important point:  that self-exalting mutual infatuation, however auto-romanticized, is at odds with the Scheme of Things.

To be another’s all-in-all  is a sort of category mistake -- to borrow the terminology of the philosophers.   More simply:  Your relation to another need be as the lower nodes of an isosceles triangle, the vertex being the Maker of you both.  (The point is intended to be more logical than religious, and perhaps could be phrased in a different way.)

C.S. Lewis (Vanauken’s penpal) made a similar point, regarding the more basic relation of friendship:  This should be founded, not upon gazing into each other’s eyes, but in sighting along converging parallax, upon some external thing.  We spot the same Truth, and explore it together.


  1. While I agree that one should have common goals, I also subscribe to the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goal model. So while, yyyeesss God should be the center of a marriage between two Christians, I find it difficult to believe that that would be enough - there are so many ways to be a Christian, after all.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with C.S. Lewis's point - "sighting along converging parallax." The two lives should line up right, though they will start at different places.

    1. Thank you. It’s nice to receive a non-Anonymous Comment. (Hint-hint all the rest of you.)
      To be sure, there have been a number of signed Comments of late, mostly on the “Riemann Conspiracy” thread; yet there remains a gnawing suspicion that some -- some few of them -- just might be noms de plume.
      Note that *we* would never stoop to an anonymous or pseudonymous Comment. Unless, of course, there were good reason to, or if we felt like it.