Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Special: The First Faust ...

I've always loved the legend of Faust: the man who sells his soul to the devil for some sort of worldly gain. I read a couple of different short variations of Faust in school, my favorite of these being The Devil and Daniel Webster. Years later I saw that version of Faust reprised in an episode of the Simpsons; it has definitely made its way into the popular psyche. I think the story resonates because we have all been faced with the temptation for worldly gain at a price that would forever change who we are. We've even seen people take that road. How many people have traded innocence for acceptance, or decency for popularity? It is a choice that everyone is faced with, and (being sinners) on some level we all take the bait.

But what was the origin of the Faust legend? We can trace Faust-like characters, even under the name "Faust", back to medieval Germany. But I suggest that there is a much older Faust story in Judeo-Christian literature. The first story about selling our souls for worldly gain: Adam and Eve.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From each according to his ability ...

This post is probably not what you think; it's not about Senator Obama's current (or previous) Marxist-friendly remarks, though Marxism is on my mind because of the current discussions about "redistribution of wealth". It is more about whether this country can have a reasoned discussion about Marxism. That may be too much to ask, but I'm still curious whether it's possible.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was a catch-phrase made very popular by Marx, and it had (and in some circles still has) massive appeal. The reason for its appeal is not likely to be noticed if someone hears "Marx" and automatically sees gulags and mass graves. Marx inspires visceral reactions because of the long series of bloody, tyrannical dictators who have marched under his banner and have justified the unjustifiable with some help from his popular slogan. The Marxists have not yet determined how to make a Marxist utopia without resorting to a totalitarian state.

What I have here is a series of thoughts on both the appeal and dangers of the Marxist slogan. I used it to clarify some of my own thoughts, & would be glad to hear your own, on "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Appeal: Is there any clearer articulation to date of what, exactly, a well-run economy should accomplish?

Danger: Here is a question for democracy to ponder: if you split the population very nearly in two, with the 51% of the people on the lower-producing / lower-earning end in one camp, and the 49% of the people on the higher-producing / higher-earning end in the other camp, is there anything to prevent the 51% from voting to confiscate a certain amount of the money of the 49%? Is there a risk of democracy becoming mob rule by vote, without resorting to violence?

Appeal: Who could argue but that it is both patriotic and humanitarian to help those in need?

Danger: The history of charity (and of charity-based welfare economy) has shown one thing clearly: whenever people are paid for being needy rather than for producing according to their ability, there appear a certain number of scammers, and the scammers if left unchecked tend to take as much as they can. There is an incentive for scammers to multiply until the system breaks as the demand for charity grows beyond the ability to supply it.

Appeal: The system, if followed correctly, sounds like it should work. If all the people capable of producing did produce according to their ability, there should be enough for all. There should be enough extra to redistribute to those few people unable to produce enough for themselves.

Danger: The success of the whole system depends on maximizing the number of people in the "from each according to his ability camp" and minimizing the number of people in the "to each according to his need camp". However, there is no incentive for people to produce according to their ability, if they are not also rewarded according to their productivity.

Appeal: If everyone produced according to his ability, very few would be needy.

Danger: The "from/to" dynamic of the whole slogan makes redistribution the practical application. This is a disincentive for productivity among the people who are productive, and a disincentive for becoming productive among those who are not. The system carries a natural slant towards ever-smaller productive camps and ever-larger needy camps.

Appeal: It sounds like simple justice if each produced what he is able, and each consumed what he needs.

Danger: There is a certain injustice if the one who produces more is not also receiving more, if the one who works the hardest has no appreciable return on his work beyond the same given to one who hardly works, and if the one who hardly works receives material benefits from the produce taken away from the hard worker.

Appeal: There is no starvation if the whole economy is focused on meeting the needs of the people.

Danger: There is no incentive whatsoever to produce beyond the level of need. Gearing an economy to produce at the base level of need creates an economy which is an inch or two above the starvation line.

Appeal: An inch or two above the starvation line is a step forward for a nation that is starving.

Danger: An inch or two above the starvation line is a step backward for a nation where even the welfare recipients are far better off than that.

Appeal: When productivity is harnessed to meet peoples' material needs, there is no reason why anyone's material needs should go unmet.

Danger: When productivity is seen as serving only the goal of meeting material needs, there are abilities not likely to be tapped, such as the ability to innovate.

Appeal: An economy in which everyone consumes only what he needs ensures that everyone has the necessities of life.

Danger: When no one is permitted to consume or produce beyond material needs, there is no incentive for art, joy, creativity, leisure, or enthusiasm. The resulting culture is likely to be unyielding, cold, and Spartan. The necessity-driven economy does not envision breathing space for producing a thing of beauty or gladness for which nobody has a material need. Therefore, it fails the worker badly at his need to excel, to strive, to produce according to his full ability, which exceeds the level of producing at survival/necessity level.

See, I told you it wasn't about Obama. ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is doubt the opposite of faith?

You of little faith, why did you doubt? - Jesus (Mark 14:31)
Over the last year or so I have seen a number of pieces around the Christian blogosphere singing the praises of doubt and raising the question, "Is doubt really the opposite of faith?" I am at times amazed at how we humans so often put our cleverness to work at the job of kidding ourselves. In a word: Yes. Doubt is the opposite of faith. In the Bible, doubt and faith are used as opposites repeatedly. My copy of Roget's thesaurus has an entry on "doubt"; it lists "belief" as the sole entry for the antonym.

I think the people who go for this line of argument -- that doubt is an intrinsically good thing and not actually the opposite of faith -- have in their minds defined doubt as the opposite not of faith but of fundamentalism, and have decided that the distasteful part of fundamentalism is rooted in certainty or the absence of doubt. Not only is this a careless analysis, but one that will eventually paint the non-fundamentalists into a corner until we define our terms better, as I will explain in a moment.

"Fundamentalism" has devolved in meaning into something other than its original meaning, and I use the word not in its original sense of "holding onto the basics" but in the sense meant by those advocating the benefits of "doubt" in the faith/doubt conversation. In that sense, "fundamentalism" is taken to mean "the type of 'faith' which excludes questions as to why the faith is legitimate, typically resting solely on a priori assumptions which, when questioned, evoke either a display of rage or a show of disdain for whether an answer exists". In this sense, the "fundamentalism" attacked by these critics is not, properly speaking, simply faith, or simply certainty. It is faith held on grounds not known to be faithful, certainty about that which is not certain.

I think these more misguided parts of what is being called "fundamentalism" have their root in a misdefinition of "faith", which I've discussed before at greater length than I'll do here. The misdefinition of "faith" as "belief in the absence of knowledge" has done much harm; certain Christian groups even consider "faith" as dependent on its object being unknown and always a "leap of faith" -- said leap being their contribution to their own salvation, and the merit of their "faith" then depending on the assumption that it was a leap: i.e., the idea that their belief is not actually supported has then become a tenet of their faith and, paradoxically, the proof of their merit. The proper evaluation is not "faith is good and doubt is bad"; it depends on the level of support.

All of this might have gone unsaid on my blog for the moment except for the misguided praise of doubt that I've heard around. When confronted with a belief about something, "how do you know?" is a reasonable question. For example, "How do you know Jesus even existed?" is a reasonable question; "There are four same-century biographies, more than I'm aware of for anyone else of that era" is a reasonable answer. If there is no reasonable answer, then belief in a thing is unreasonable; however, if there is an overwhelmingly probable rational answer and no solid reason for doubt, then in that case it is doubt which is irrational.

Here is the point: the level of certainty/faith and level of uncertainty/doubt should match the level of support. To believe something for which there is no support is unwarranted faith, even if what is believed is supposedly an article of faith. And here's the flip-side: to disbelieve something for which there is solid support is unwarranted unbelief, or to rephrase, unwarranted doubt. If there is such a thing as unwarranted belief, it follows that there is such a thing as unwarranted doubt. Many people consider the 9/11 "Truthers" to be an example of this type of unwarranted doubt. In case anyone is unfamiliar with the 9/11 "Truthers": they do not believe that Middle Eastern terrorists were actually behind the 9/11/2001 attacks on the U.S. Most people would consider that to be unwarranted unbelief in the involvement of terrorists. Another example might be those who believe the Elvis sightings, which again most people would consider unwarranted unbelief in the reports of his death and burial.

Please note that unwarranted belief in one thing almost always goes hand-in-hand with unwarranted unbelief in another, and vice versa. For example, someone with unwarranted doubt in the terrorist connection with 9/11 is likely to have unwarranted belief in the complicity of the U.S. government in attacking its own citizens. My point here is that doubt can be every bit as irrational as faith. The idea that "doubt is good and faith is bad" is wrong-headed; that's the same mistake as the fundamentalists make, just in the opposite direction. If we are to be rational, doubt and faith should both depend on the level of support.

For example: How sure am I that Jesus existed? 100% (as I've already mentioned my reasons for this above). How sure am I that Paul's contemporaries thought Paul had the authority to pronounce church policy for all times and places? Oh, count that under 50%, and that based on how decisions were reached at the council of Jerusalem. And so forth. I'm not saying anyone has to match my numbers, I'm saying that there is such a thing as rational belief as well as rational doubt; that there are times when doubt is more rational than belief and also times when belief is more rational than doubt, and finally as we saw in the case of the "Truthers" there are times when faith in a thing is irrational (e.g. believing the U.S. government conspired to kill thousands of its citizens to frame the terrorists who happened to be aboard) and times when doubt is irrational (e.g. doubting the involvement of terrorists in the 9/11 events).

Certainty is not inherently arrogant or misguided as is now often charged (though people in an arrogant mindframe may be more likely to make mistakes in determining whether their beliefs and unbeliefs are warranted by being culpably condescending towards other people). Certainty may or may not be warranted, depending on the specifics of each thing being considered. If certainty is not warranted then in that case it is misguided. However, if certainty is warranted, in that case it is doubt which is misguided.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Patristics Carnival XVII: Call for Submissions

Patristics Carnival XVII will be hosted here at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength. Send submissions / nominations to the carnival email by 10/31/2008; I hope to have the Carnival posted on 11/06/2008. Read here for guidelines and addenda. The Patristics Carnival is a worthy addition to the Christian blog carnivals and is organized by Phil Snider at hyperekperissou.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Embryo, Fetus, Baby ... Have we missed a possibility?

Governor Palin is definitely re-energizing the Right to Life movement with her courage and decency in having her son Trig, so I wanted to revisit a few of the terms in which the current debate has been argued and show where I think we have made some mistakes that have given too much ground to the Abortion Rights folks.

The Abortion Rights movement systematically refers to what is growing in the mother's womb as an embryo or a fetus, depending on the stage of development. Actually, as far as it goes, that is correct, by which I mean those are the suitable scientific terms to refer to those stages of development. It has long been noted that the point of using the scientific terms "embryo" and "fetus" is to argue that what is being aborted is not a baby, since "baby" is the next stage of development after embryo and fetus.

This is why I think the Right to Life movement has made something of a tactical mistake in referring to what is growing in the womb as a "baby" -- while of course we all know what is meant here and besides that I agree with the general point behind using the word "baby", please hear me out as to why I think it was a tactical mistake to argue only in those terms and what we might do to communicate our point more effectively.

When we call what is growing in the womb a "baby", not only does that invite the argument over birth status and stage of development, but it also unintentionally concedes the ground that if something is not yet a "baby" then it can have no right to life. From there, all that the Abortion Rights supporters have to do is maintain their stage-specific terminology about human development. An "embryo" is not a "fetus" is not a "baby", even though those three stages of life lie in an obvious developmental sequence. The fact that people go on having abortions and arguing for their legality and acceptability should demonstrate to us that people have taught themselves to base their thoughts on "human" status solely on the stage of development or birth status; the fact that a fetus is not a baby is all they need to know to hold onto their beliefs that aborting this fetus is morally neutral.

Do you remember a few months ago all the furor over a legendary creature called a "chupacabra"? This animal was said to prey on farm animals. Scientists had insisted that a chupacabra is a coyote with a severe case of mange. Those who had seen them insisted it could not possibly be a coyote. Recently a woman found a dead chupacabra; DNA samples were sent off for testing. DNA test says: coyote. Badly diseased, not easily recognized as a coyote, understandable why someone would take it for something besides a coyote, but still a coyote.

Remember the recent people who claimed to have found a dead Sasquatch? That one was settled out by DNA tests too. Fraudulent.

Do you know what you get if you run a DNA test on an embryo, a fetus, and a baby? Human, I expect, and I would be very shocked to hear anyone even try to maintain otherwise. Too easy to take samples to labs and have the matter settled once and for all. I mean, you could hardly screen for Down Syndrome in utero if you didn't know where in the human DNA sequence to look for the genetic problem, could you? In the case of a human pregnancy, "embryo" is an early stage in human development. "Fetus" is a later stage in human development. "Baby" is, in Abortion Rights terms, a still later stage in human development. What cannot be so easily escaped at this point is that we are talking about an early stage in human development: the developing human being is not fully developed but is fully human. The Abortion Rights supporters have long confused the two issues, equating "human" with a certain developmental stage. This is the ground on which they are, factually, simply wrong. We have some options in bringing this to light. We could factually call that which is aborted:
  • human life in the early stages of development
  • the embryonic (or fetal) stage of human development
  • developing humans at the embryonic (or fetal) stage.
Here we will bring home the entirety of our point, what is occurring during a pregnancy is that a human life is growing through different stages of development. The life that is ended is not fully developed, but it has been fully human all along.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Charity spam" scams

I have to admit that I've taken to responding to the charity spam emails that I receive. You know, the ones in which some unfortunate sick man or woman -- who happens to be very wealthy but terminally ill, and happens to want to give away every penny of their money before they die, and has never met us -- knows we are just the one to help them despite the fact that they do not know our name or the first thing about us other than our email addresses.

I've taken this tack: I respond as if I take their claims seriously, as if I believe that they really are in such a situation. I suggest that, if they want to give their money to charity, it really might be more effective to contact a charity rather than to start mass-emailing complete strangers. And I wish them the best in their efforts to be generous. If I were in law enforcement, I would set up an email account and a fake bank account and respond to every one of these, just to see who was on the other end of the line.

What do you all do with your charity spam scams? I used to just use the 'delete' button or the 'report spam' button, but I'm fairly sure that the 'report spam' button has the same effect as the 'delete' button but is just labeled differently. I'm increasingly wanting to make a point to the actual human beings behind these scams. I'm not suggesting a counter-spam campaign -- that we all reply to each of these emails and have them sort through thousands of meaningless emails per day to give them a taste of their own medicine, as entertaining as that might be. But when it's obvious that a financial predator and liar is in my mailbox, I'm less and less willing to overlook that fact or accept the status quo and let fraudsters go unchallenged.

I wonder: what's our best Christian response?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Julian of Norwich: Challenging the comfortable life

It's a long story how I came to be reading Julian of Norwich -- and I am undecided as to whether her visions are trustworthy. All the same, I benefited from reading her Revelations of Divine Love.

Background for those who haven't read it: Julian had, in her youth, prayed for three gifts of God: a vision of the passion of Christ, a bodily illness to the point of death (which struck me as an unhealthy wish), and three "wounds": contrition, compassion, and an earnest longing for God.

The final of these three prayers draws me the most: the prayer for the three wounds. Of her three original prayers, this is the only one she offers without reservation. These particular three wounds have their roots in Scripture as wounds which the faithful might well desire. Contrition is portrayed as a wound in Psalm 51, where the psalmist says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Compassion is portrayed as a wound in the letter to the Hebrews, where the author writes, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated as if you yourself were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). The wound of an earnest longing for God is frequently portrayed in Scripture as the suffering of thirst (for examples, see Psalm 42:1-3, Psalm 63:1-3, Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 55:1-2). As Julian meditates on the suffering of thirst in Christ’s passion, and as she envisions her own suffering so inseparably from Christ’s, it is possible that she had such passages of thirst in mind when for she discussed the wound of earnest longing for God.

As Christ’s wounds heal us, Julian seems to envision these three wounds as blessed wounds with the paradoxical power to heal. Psalm 51 supports this connection, as the well-known passage, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” is followed by the cry of contrition. Contrition is seen as the sacrifice for being cleansed of the stain of past sins – not an aloof regret but a broken heart over our sins. The wound of contrition challenges our attitudes towards our own sins, such as hard-heartedness, indifference, or willful ignorance of the depth of the problem of evil in our own lives.

Compassion is the wound from which love cannot desire to be healed and still remain faithful to the beloved. The wound of compassion challenges us that any concern for others which feels no wound is a lesser thing: cheaper and safer than compassion, and culpably timid. This type of wound challenges us on the comfortable distance we keep from suffering and on the convenience of any dissociations which justify the distance.

The earnest desire for God keeps us from being permanently satisfied with worldly things which have no permanence in themselves. Someone who is too satisfied with this life stops striving and searching for something more, and her life becomes closed. If there is no longing for something more, then there is little thought towards the future and little hope of things to come. The desire for God prevents us from adopting lesser hopes, from forgetting him from whom we come and to whom we return.

Julian’s early devotion in offering her prayer and her eventual decision to become a recluse are part of the same desire in her life: to reject the ways of the world in order to know and love God. She left the open life of the world for the enclosed life of a recluse, though her prayer indicates that she may have been mindful that a recluse was still a part of the world, just as susceptible to the temptation of complacency.

Of Julian’s original three prayers, we know the answers to two. We know whether she had her vision of the passion, and we know whether she had her bodily sickness. We do not know how she fared with her third request. Julian’s life and prayers ultimately challenge us whether satisfaction and comfort are worthy goals, or whether we would be better served to desire a few wounds.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

De Facto Creed: What would yours look like?

Many churches confess the Nicene Creed, the only creed ever to be agreed upon in an ecumenical council. Yet most of those churches are not in fellowship. Consider this portion of the creed: "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church." While the majority of Christian confess this, there are a few different takes on what it means. It seems to me the de facto creed of churches like mine (Lutheran) has something between the lines:
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church;
what we received from the apostles we pass along,
neither adding nor taking away.
That is probably close to our de facto creed, that the church and her mission is bound closely and uniquely to the original teaching of Jesus' apostles as their witness to him. Sola Scriptura, to a Lutheran, is the practical working out of the view that the apostolic church has apostolic teachings. Scripture is seen as the deposit of teachings that came from the apostles and therefore the guarantor of apostolic faith.

I hope one of the Roman Catholics will chime in with their comments on what their de facto creed would look like. As best I can tell, it would look more like this:
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church,
Infallible bulwark against which the gates of hell cannot prevail,
Whose authority is the Bishop of Rome.
I hope I've done that view justice, and again would be glad to hear from the Roman Catholics around.

What about your church? When it comes to what we confess together and the differences that separate us, what is your de facto creed?

Monday, October 06, 2008

On disasters in general, and the current disaster in particular

It was about a month ago that I spent a week watching as hurricane Ike rolled across the Gulf of Mexico and eventually took aim right at home. (No, Ike isn't the "current disaster"; the financial crisis is. I'll get there in a minute.) The news media was getting increasingly hysterical as the storm approached. I mean, if your average daily thunderstorm is Big News, and if O.J. Simpson merits a month of coverage, they have nowhere to go but off the scale whenever something important actually happens. So in the news media, fearmongering for profit as is customary at times like this, I even saw a headline that included the quote 'Evacuate or face certain death.' Now, not far from here down on the island where this quote may have applied, I think by the time the medical examiner released the counts, it was under 0.1% of the people who stayed who are known to have died. (While some are still missing, it too is a small portion of the people.) As they say one death is too many, of course, but "certain death" it was not. "Certain hardship", probably. "Certain disruption", no doubt. "Certain death?" Not really. The thing about all the overblown rhetoric is it got people so rattled that they risked panicking, and a panicked person is far more likely to do something stupid, or forget to do what they knew they should. A couple of the deaths during the storm were from people who had thought they would stay but then panicked and decided to evacuate during the storm. Bad idea, really, going out in weather like that, but panic will do strange things to your mind. If they hadn't decided they had to leave or die in the middle of the storm, those particular people probably would have survived.

The government declared the island uninhabitable while there was no electricity and no public water supply. No refrigeration, no air conditioning, only fire to cook on. Some of the old timers who had stayed just laughed: all our ancestors lived like this every day, they said. They were cooking outdoors and socializing and enjoying themselves, all in this "uninhabitable" place.

So about the current crisis -- and about any crisis in general. I'm not saying this isn't serious; time will tell. I'm saying that if it is serious, the last thing we want to do is get worked up about it. If the worst nightmare scenario comes true and western civilization falls, it's time to start a farm or an orchard or a biodiesel plant or something and rebuild. Take a few books -- and make sure some are just for fun. Take a musical instrument, maybe a few sheets of music, or maybe write a new song. In the ancient law of Israel, God commands more feasts than fasts. Celebration is not an optional part of life. Life is poorer without celebration than without an IRA. And the IRA never was the main thing to celebrate.

If things get shakier -- when things get shakier -- we need to be the steady ones for those around us. God is faithful. At the end of the day, that's enough for us.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Whose sins are the worst?

I think, if the leader of a Christian worship service called, "Will the worst sinner please stand up?", that invitation ought to have the same effect as the phrase, "Let the congregation please rise." Everyone should come readily to his or her feet.

When we consider sin in general, it is easy to look around at society and see the unjust systems with obscene levels of sin on the national and international levels. In comparison with these outrageous sins, our own sins can be made to seem paltry, beneath notice, unworthy of mention. This is election season; repentance often is just a misnomer for mudslinging when the sins identified are always someone else's. It is tempting for us to discuss sin as if our own worst sin is to be inextricably trapped in an unjust system of someone else's making, tainted by someone else's sin which we loathe, blind to our own sins with which we are as unhealthily comfortable as a baby with a loaded diaper.

One pastor taught me this, which has blessed me for years: if ever I should be tempted to see sin as someone else's problem, to discuss sin but identify the worst of sinners as someone else, I have left behind grace. St Paul once identified himself as the worst of sinners. It would even be convenient for us to agree with Paul, not that "I" am the worst of sinners, but that he was the worst of sinners. St Paul had the right spirit and attitude on this: that the first sin we should condemn is always our own. As Jesus said, first we should get the log out of our own eyes. If our confession is, "Lord, I regret that I am caught up in someone else's sins and haven't done enough to stop other people -- you know, the detestable ones -- from sinning" -- then that is no confession at all. As Luther once said to Melanchthon: you have real sins and you are a real sinner; be glad, because real sins are the only kind of sins that God forgives.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Christian Reconciliation Carnival

The Christian Reconciliation Carnival is up at Cross Reference. Stop by and give it a read. And a big THANK YOU to our host, Jeff, for once again doing a great job with the Carnival.

This Carnival's theme also has some beginning comparisons of different churches with different orders of service. I'm curious: what statement does your church make with its order of service?

The next Christian Reconciliation Carnival will be here at this blog at the end of the year. I am considering giving recognition to bloggers who have made noteworthy contributions to Christian reconciliation, the spirit of fellowship in conversation, clearly defining their beliefs (a prerequisite for assessing differences), or housecleaning within their own denomination. Anyone with thoughts as to other categories that might be good to recognize, please drop me a comment. And keep an eye out for those reconciliation-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. I'll be asking for nominations in the different categories later in the year.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The restless will

It is not in the nature of the will to be free. The human will always finds something to wish, something to desire, something to support, a person or object or goal; or it always finds something to oppose, something to avoid. That is what the will does: it attaches our energies to directions and to goals, it focuses our thoughts and actions. There is, then, the restless will, the satisfied will or the dissatisfied will, but not the free will.

Look, for instance, and what the will can do to the ability to reason. This ability to think or to reason is an ability that we all have in some measure. But whenever we desire to have or to do something we ourselves think is wrong, our will gives our mind a very interesting task: tell us all the reasons why the thing we want is right. And the mind does as the will asks it to do. The mind is just as capable of working for a goal that is unreasonable as it is for something reasonable.

We can set our minds and actions on anything we want to; the problem lies in whether we can control those desires themselves. And if we cannot control ourselves as to what we want, then we are under the control of whatever is the object of our desires. Here is the root of addictions and ideologies, perfectionism and obsessions, lusts and fears and greed.

The will is an appetite, a hunger for satisfaction. And as each object satisfies or fails to satisfy, it is kept or discarded. The will always searches for what satisfies better, and its restlessness looks for the ultimate satisfaction.