Wednesday, July 06, 2005


On IgnatiusInsights, Raymond Dennehy wonders if Charles M. Schulz and the Peanuts gang were Thomists.
Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and even the dog, Snoopy are comic strip reflections of Chesterton’s common folk. Children and animals are blest with a lack of sophistication. Their naïve assessment of the things around them protects them from mistaking nonsense for truth. As children, we have much to learn about the world, but how much would we learn if we started out with the prejudices and perversity of the sophisticated?

Nietzsche exhorted us to become like children because childlike innocence was needed to construct a morality worthy of the new man. Ironically, the very one whose Lordship he denied and reviled presented that truth centuries before him. Christ warned his disciples that they must become as little children if they wished to enter heaven. And what about Aristotle? He was no naïf, but he nevertheless had the child’s innocence and joy at beholding nature; so he didn’t suffer fools gladly, as is clear in his advice to avoid philosophical discussions about "foolish questions" such as whether change is real. Thomas Aquinas displayed the same childlike openness to reality, which is why his writings on profound theological and philosophical subjects are so remarkably lucid.


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