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Robert Saler

Rather than fumbling about for some thread of thematic continuity amongst the texts that we have read in the Freshman program, I would take this opportunity to comment upon a fundamental observation that I have made while in the course. Human thought, while seemingly an entity as eclectic and bizarre as the texts that are produced by humans, has been revealed to me as a masterful and artful invention of the divine, a piece of history as lovely and complex as any action or event. The future of humanity can never be made clear and distinct to the humans who will bring about that future; however, the generations of philosophy, spirituality, and observation that has proceeded this future sets a stage so grand that, from this point on, the events of human history will always be lived in epic proportions.

However, along with this realization came a much more profound one. However grand human thought may be, it will never surpass the human need for divine presence. This influence, be it in the form of individual inspiration or influence on entire races of people, is and always has been such an essential part of humanity that we can no longer safely define ourselves as humans without acknowledging our identities within the divine. Regardless of whether this divinity takes the form of the God of Abraham, the teachings of Buddha, or any one of the innumerable suggestions throughout history, human beings have no identity without the presence of the spiritual. It is very telling that those whom we venerate as great minds – Dr. Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hahn, and Immanuel Kant, to name a few – recognized their essential powerlessness as human beings and thus took their strength from the divine. This is not a compromising of the beauty of human thought; indeed, it is the divine that allows for the existence of the rational. Once the rational is given identity within God (in whatever form), the humanity that produces the intellect has been validated and its existence is sanctified.


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