Flight from reality


If truth is solely simply the product of the human brain, then subjectivity is the only reality.  Each person’s life is isolated.  We have even abandoned the slightest chance of what traditionally is known as friendship and communion.  The only reality is the Me.  The person who says beauty is in the eye of the beholder must logically go on to say that truth is in the brain of the knower.  If the eye creates beauty, then the brain creates truth.  This story illustrates how this plays out.

The American historian Barbara Tuchman in her book The Proud Tower describes an incident in which the painter, Phillip Ernst, father of Max Ernst, was painting a picture of his garden when he omitted a tree which spoiled the composition.  Then overcome with remorse that he violated reality, determined to set the picture right, went out and cut down the tree.  We don’t know to laugh or cry at this story.

This story sends as a parable to everything wrong with western culture today.  This is not an environmental statement.  We cut out, we reduce, and we annihilate whatever is not confirmed to our picture of reality.  We will change reality because it does not confirm to what is going on in our heads.  This is becoming very common.

The thief and the robber who the fathers of the Church say is the devil, who struck the man heading from Jerusalem to Jericho still robs us.  He robs us of reality itself.  Worse than that, this thief has persuaded us that he has not robbed us.  He has left the world in which we live stripped, naked and half dead.  So all of us here who live in this world, is incumbent upon us to love God with the whole mind, to think through the faith, to meditate in the Gospel and to take seriously the challenge of the Gospel, because what is in us is a pearl of great price, the capacity for knowing God.  Amen.

 Taken from All Saints homilies by Father Patrick Henry Reardon

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