There are perhaps three main reasons why I write and these reasons are a true, dear and clear reflection of my beliefs. I write to pursue truth, virtue and understanding.
I cannot claim that writing has been in my blood since I was very young, however I can claim that I have become a mature writer by reading the fine works of others and contemplating the truths, virtues and understanding they have shared with the world.
In the pursuit of truth there is that dichotomy that Immanuel Kant expressed, which I paraphrase … “two things fill the mind with ever increasing wonder and awe … the starry heavens above us and the moral laws within us.”
It is not a pure awe that truth requires of us but instead an impersonal and practical one that is set in our efforts to understand the physical laws that governs to the far corners of the universe in which we reside, as well as the moral laws that govern our actions, we mere baubles in the starry heavens.
Those corners of the universe can be to the very large, the scale of galaxies and the universe itself, or it might be the corners set out in the other direction, that where quarks and leptons reside and quanta is the norm. As we well know, given the advances in modern science, these two limits, the very large and the very small, are directly coupled to one another, borrowing a mathematical concept from particle physics. And we too, organic machines made of organic materials, are delicately coupled in at the middle of the universal scale of distances.
What of the moral laws and how they pertain to virtue? I am Catholic and bring to my life a Catholic sensibility. The world seems a far more sinister place than two decades ago. While the Cold War is deemed over, the world has become even more lawless and many more millions suffer today the inequities of war and oppression than in the past. The United Nations count the suffering numbers at 65 million, numbers greater than at any time since the end of the Second World War, with 100 million more suffering from famine and a lack of clean, potable water.
I write to express my Catholic sensibilities to lend aid to those who suffer and to encourage those who govern to do more to alleviate their suffering.
In the pursuit of understanding I reflect to a large degree the sensibilities of Albert Einstein in that this understanding does not deem us the centre of the universe, but a minuscule part of it, with a clear understanding of our limitations and possibilities. It was he who reminded us that, “once you stop learning … you start dying.” Is it possible that the troubled heart of our civilization has already begun to wither and fade?
Every moment is precious, all of our words and actions meaningful, if we decide to make them so.