Right and Wrong — and Goals

C. S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity on right and wrong:

“People may sometimes be mistaken about them [right and wrong], just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.”

Hmm!  Yes, 3×3=9, and there is no “almost right” answer to that.  Yet it occurs to me that life, and the situations it throws out to us, are more nuanced than the multiplication tables.  Sometimes I am not always sure a 3 is a 3, or that a 9 is a 9.

In pondering this I am sent back to a poem I recently read.  While it seems to be applicable here, I am not sure I can explain why other than both the Lewis passage and the poem present a conundrum:

The Three Goals – David Budbill

“The first goal is to see the thing itself in and for itself, to see it simply and clearly for that it is.  No symbolism, please.

The second goal is to see each individual thing as unified, as one, whit all other ten thousand things.  IN this regard, a little wine helps a lot.

The third goal is to grasp the first and second goals, to see the universal and the particular, simultaneously.  Regarding this one, call me when you get it.”

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