Monday, December 28, 2015


In one of his novels, Solzhenitsyn has a character who believes that the meaning of existence is to:
preserve unspoiled, undisturbed and undistorted the image of eternity with which each person is born


  1. Hi Mark, for that quote to be accurate then Man would have to be immortal. For the fact that men are mortal and finite in the fleshly form, means that any image of eternity contained within us is distorted, disturbed and spoiled. If humans are indicative of eternity then it would in a similar way that vinegar is indicative of a fine wine.

    No, I cannot agree with the character from the Solzhenitsyn novel. What I find interesting is the use of "preserve", like the image of eternity can be actively instilled and maintained within us by us.

    Such an idea can only be undergirded by hubris.

    1. Matt, both things can be true. We can have a sense of the "image of eternity" within us and seek to preserve it (which is perhaps why "purity" is such a common concept within religion) but still be aware of our fallen and finite nature as men and adopt a humble attitude to our Creator.

      It seems to me that hubris comes from a different source to the one you mention. Hubris comes when humans become so discontent with the given nature of reality that they begin to imagine themselves to be co-creators with God of a different metaphysical reality - i.e. that there is an historic process in which God is relying on humans to shape the world toward the ultimate perfection to which it is destined. This gives humanity as a whole a god-like role in the unfolding of a universal plan.

      Humans are more likely to slip into this view if they cannot perceive something of the divine within the given, created nature of things. If "being" lacks sacred meaning, then what is left in religious terms but to think that sacred meaning resides in a progress toward something else that will ultimately bear this meaning (or, I suppose, to become entirely otherworldly).