Sunday, May 22, 2016

What do we really want to see?

Which vacation places are most-visited? A friend of mine has gone to Paris to see the Eiffel tower. Another recently returned from Hawaii. I'd love to see the Grand Canyon. The ultimate vacation often includes some place that we really want to see. Generally our destination is a place of beauty, or something otherwise amazing.

If someone is going to an unremarkable place, it's fairly sure that place is home to someone they love.

Which youtube videos are most-watched? Again, the click-bait for the videos often promise something amazing. And the site designers keep track of what each of us likes to watch, so they can match our interests. There are videos where we say: I want to see that. We are looking for something worthy of praise, or something that inspires awe and wonder. And we're glad when we find it.

We look for -- we search for -- things that amaze us. If finances permit, many of us would travel across the world to see something truly beautiful or remarkable. For those of us on a quest for the ultimate and best in any category, we'll go to great lengths. I know a man so devoted to astronomy that he is saving money to go to other continents to visit the best observatories -- where the air is thin, and the telescopes are powerful and precise. The best telescope mirrors and glass are made with extraordinary attention to the precise measurements of the parts -- and the purity of the materials.

In the religious category, for many the ultimate quest is to know God, to see God, to understand the mind of God. To what lengths will we go? The natural world is full of awe and beauty -- and danger -- and incredible variety. The religions of the world have collected as much wisdom and beauty and holiness as they know how, each after their own fashion. And in life, it is easy to worry about its briefness. Are we willing to brave death in order to see the face of God, and have all our questions answered? That may be one of the few consolations of the end of our days: "now we know in part ... then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known." The religions of the world are window-shopping for heaven -- some with clearer vision than others, I think. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

It's like my old friend the astronomer: he can tell me all about the lengths to which people will go for rare and pure materials for their own telescopes, and it's all so that they can see things of beauty that they would not otherwise be able to see, and understand things they could not otherwise understand. If we purify our hearts, it's not so that we can admire our own purity. It's so we can see God and see the people around us, and understand in ways that we could not understand before.


Martin LaBar said...

That's a good way to look at things. Thanks.

Weekend Fisher said...

Thank you, again, for the encouragement.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF