There Is a Whole of Which I Am a Part

Hamza Yusuf

Channel: Hamza Yusuf

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With Thomas Hibbs 

Episode Transcript

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And the parents first commandment was read, if at all, to read. And I think Islam, like Christianity developed an incredible civilization of literacy. And that's why one of the things that shocked barzan in his, in his book from dawn to decadence, he has a chapter about what he called primitivism. You know, the kind of rue solian fallacy, where people look at very primitive life as some kind of an ideal. And, and I think that that, to me, is a great tragedy because the the life of the mind, the fact that we are unique amongst creation, in that we do have minds. And we have this ability to grapple with nothing and infinity as concepts, which is something that the God who

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created our imaginations, gave us those imaginations, to be able to do that. And that's something so extraordinary. And to squander this incredible opportunity. I just, I feel for our young people, because they're given relativism in schools, they're taught doctrines that this really is meaningless. And then they're told, on the other hand, about rights that they never ground in anything. And this is leads me to my last question to you, I think you make a very powerful argument in in your book on dialectic, that, you know, seeking the good, whether it's, you know, the moral virtues, the intellectual virtues, seeking the good, requires metaphysics. And as a Turner, we do

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really try to give our students some, you know, an introduction to metaphysics. So I'd really like you to talk about why metaphysics is so fundamental and important to the life of the mind.

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Yeah, so in that in the tradition that we work out off, right, and you're right, that

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Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas is great teacher was immersed in, in the writers from your tradition, and, and that Aquinas could not have done his work without that training. And that was a training that saw these texts and commentaries on them as building up, not a standing between us in reality, but is building up insight and vocabulary, to be able to discern and apprehend the truth about reality, more fully. And in this tradition, the more fully we apprehended, the more deeply mysterious it becomes. That's a great paradox of metaphysics, as it's understood, in the Arabic Islamic tradition and in, in the Christian tradition, at least amongst the best practitioners in

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those traditions.

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without some sense, I mean, let me talk about this just in terms of our experience of people and our lives, and then broaden out to something more substantive about metaphysics without some sense, and this is often where secular people begin to have quasi religious thoughts and sometimes begin a quest for religion and conversion. Some sense that there are layers,

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mysteries, coincidences on one level, which might be Providence on another, that that there are things that I'm not apprehending levels of depth about my relationship with other people, about my own life, about good things that I've done about evil that I have done. without some sense of that depth perspective in our lives. Our lives just become flat and meaningless, and and listless. Right, and without joy, without energy, without mystery. So when we have the sense that we're on a quest, as as Walker personally puts it on one of his books, to be on the quest is to be onto something, the sense that there's something more right that that I can't quite apprehend, but it's it's nagging at

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me, it's gnawing at me, it's pulling me it's drawing me that sense that there's something more

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leads ultimately to certain kinds of affirmations about reality as being deeper and richer than my immediate experience allows. But it's being revealed to some extent, in my immediate experience, and that's the beginning of metaphysics, the sense that there is a hole of which I am apart and that my one of my tasks as a human person, in

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This great vast, mysterious cosmos, where I find myself in on a tiny speck of matter called Planet Earth, for an infinitesimally small period of time. One of my tasks is to try and understand my place within the whole. That's right. That was reification of metaphysics. It's interesting that you're saying that because in nature who was dealing with with the collapse of metaphysics, in amongst the Europeans, he wrote in the collapse of cosmological values, that one of the he gives these three different degrees of nihilism or nihilism. And he says that the second one is a loss of, of, of a holistic view of the universe, that which is exactly to the point that you're making that

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this, this is where Neil ism arises out of it arises out of this loss. And in the discarded image. I mean, that's one of the things that CS Lewis talks about, is it the thing he envied most about the pre moderns is they really had worked it all out and had such a holistic view of the world and understood it within that whole ism. And so getting back to that being Whole Again, I mean, it's interesting that healthy comes from whole, you know, the, the word, the root of that word is is from the same root that we get home from to be healthiest to be whole. And it seems that we're so fragmented,