THE SIX CONFUSIONS OF MODERN MAN
There is confusion when things do not occupy their due place in the order of the universe. The six considered here are not the only ones, but they are enough to give an idea of the intellectual and moral disorder that beset modernity.
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Infatuation and Love
Infatuation and imagination belong to the same level of being (animal life), but not to the same department therein: infatuation is not an internal sense but a passion, one of the animal drives that attract towards, or repel from a given object perceived by the senses.
The will, on the other hand, belongs to the same level as the intellect, that of spirit. With this power man loves, i.e. actively wants the supreme good of the person loved. Since the supreme good of a person is none other than his/her eternal salvation, loving a person may, or may not, entail getting infatuated: the two are not the same reality.
Infatuation can only be described as an intense liking, whether of a person, an animal or a thing. In no case should the passion of liking be confused with love. That is why it is possible to love enemies while intensely disliking them.
Loving oneself has the same meaning: wanting one’s salvation. It does not mean pandering to whims and desires.
Given the nature of liking and loving, confusing the two is dangerous. Liking, like all passions, can be strong, but it is always fleeting, at times in very short order. After years of intense attraction towards a spouse, a hobby, a certain type of reading, a sport, etc, the liking may disappear without warning. Divorce has been exclusively due to this confusion.
Love is permanent. Falling in love not with externals but with inner virtues does not wax and wane but increases and strengthens with time.
This applies especially to the love of God. What is to be desired here is not a supreme good – God is that supreme good- but His glory, paradoxically not needed by Him. Why then desire it?
The need is human, not divine. The more man honours God, the more benefits and favours he receives, not least an ever-growing knowledge – and love – of self.
The human spirit, like all spirit, is a mystery, i.e. a reality that can be understood in ever increasing depth, but never comprehended. Only God, creator of the human spirit, comprehends it in its entirety. Prayer empowers man to asymptotically approach the comprehension of his own self but without attaining it.
And since knowledge begets love, the love of self increases too, again not by fostering fleeting desires but desires of eternal salvation and the means to attain it.
When priority is given to love, likings do not disappear, but get hierarchically ordered; the importance of each person or thing liked is now where it belongs, and the mistake is never made of lavishing love on subhuman realities like animals and things, a perversion today rampant in all the compartments of life.
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