What are we here for? Or How to Hide an Elephant

To the most important question the modern world has no answer…What are we here for? According to Dr. Peter Kreeft,this question is as big as an elephant that the world wants to hide in five different ways:

1) Diversion. “An elephant can be hidden by mice, if there are enough of them. So our world is full of thousands of little things, which keep us diverted from one big thing”

2) Propaganda. “Since the modern world has no answer…it calls it nasty names, like abstract and metaphysical and even religious, and above all ‘a matter of opinion”

3) Indifference. ” Someone says: ‘There’s an elephant’ and we simply yawn. There is God, or there is Nothingness: in either case, there is Death. These are three elephants, and we care more about mice”

4) The pursuit of happiness. The world “hides the elephant because the elephant does not seem to make us happy. The elephant is ‘negative’, and we should practice ‘the power of positive thinking’, ‘I’m OK, you’re OK'”

5) Subjectivism. “The best way of all to hide an elephant is to hide your eyes instead, to play peek-a-boo and not to peek…by turning its point back upon itself: truth is what you believe, ‘true for you’ but not for me”

Why do we say such nonsense? Why do we turn elephants into mice, cosmic truths into personal preferences? Because we are terrified of elephants. Perhaps we cannot ride them: perhaps they will trample us. So we reduce their size. We do the same thing to sex, and religion, and philosophy

Source: Peter Kreeft (1989) Three philosophies of life, Ignatius Press; pp. 33-35)


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