Wednesday, June 28, 2006

passionately habitual or habitually passionate

As usual, Eric Scheske writes an excellent article.  One might deduce that he is passionate about his work but does not let the passions control his output.
In his latest work on Catholic Exchange, he makes the point why we should care about the checkered lives of our politicians.  It isn't merely for gossip's sake, but that it may indicate a problem.
The thing is, passion inflames. It distorts the reasoning process. In classical philosophy, it’s known as the “doctrine of connaturality”: the apprehension of truth can take place only after the clamoring of the passions has calmed down.

If a person has surrendered himself to passion — and does so repeatedly, to the point it becomes habitual or erupts in serious misconduct, like adultery — the effects stay with the person. It’s kind of like a hangover. The most noticeable effects of a passion — the inebriation, the beating heart, the yelling — might be gone, but the effects are still there. Take a look at your worst passion. Do you find yourself more inclined to engage in it later, if you indulged it earlier? I do, and so does everyone else.
Not that I will remember the "doctrine of connaturality", but it sure makes sense.  Sin begets sin.  Even venial sin tends to cloud the judgment the next time around.  Kinda like a bug hitting the windshield.  One isn't big deal.  But if you don't wash them off at the next fuel stop, your vision will be diminished.  And eventually you may hit a deer at dusk because of your poor visibility. 

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