How mighty and awesome and terrible is my God!


0910 | Another birthday has come and gone. It was an uneventful day for the most part. But I did spend part of my birthday worrying about the future — whether I’ll be able to keep my darling office space after August, whether I will I have enough food to eat in the coming months, what I’ll do with all these books and furniture in my office, how Michael will go to school, how to care for kitty, how I’m going to attend classes in Cambridge in the fall, how I’ll pay to retake the GRE, whether I’ll get into a graduate program soon… I am getting quite desperate, and I am thinking of asking my Great Uncle for help.

It’s so overwhelming. If I think about the worst case scenario, I wish that I were never born. How miserable life might soon be for me — and yet, how wonderful it can be for some people. I dreamed a dream, when hope was high and life worth living. But I have one month. I have at least one more month to study philosophy in peace, in my own space…

But without philosophy, how can I live? How can I get by the day to day without this fundamental joy? Philosophy is the single thread that binds my life-story into a unified and comprehensive whole. It explains my past, gives meaning and joy to my present, and gives me hope for the future. Philosophy has introduced me to Thoreau and has set me on my path to truth-seeking. And this path has led me to the aletheia deep within my heart — and the truth in my heart has led me here, to Harvard. The God commanded, and I obeyed.

How great is my God! How mighty and awesome and terrible is my God! I tremble.

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1457 | [ Continuing my study of Scanlon’s book, What We Owe To Each Other… ]

I’m on the last chapter of Scanlon’s book. It’s called “Relativism,” and it’s about moral relativism. As always, I cannot know where he stands on the matter just by reading the introduction to the chapter.

On page 333 he writes: “Moral standards, and the judgments that presuppose them, can therefore conflict in a deeper way insofar as these standards are rival claimants to a kind of authority that, we commonly think, at most one of them can have. Relativism, as I have interpreted it, denies that only one set of standards can have this authority.”

Standards can differ from person to person, but also within the same person from time to time. One cannot step in the same river twice.

I think this means that according to “relativism,” I get to change my mind without being necessarily wrong at one point or another. But even if this were true, surely there is something that endures even from moment to moment?