The art in being truly human is living with a consciousness that we are neither animal nor god, but live constantly on the frontier between the two. It is difficult to live without savagery or hubris, but learning to do so is the soul of what makes being human a beautiful thing. Keeping this awareness has been difficult for me. I have always cast my eyes toward the heavens. I need reminders that I am creature.
A human emulates God’s power most clearly in our feats of discipline. It is discipline that creates power and discipline that confers identity. Discipline is the wellspring of our God-given gift of naming. It is in my capacity to be disciplined that my subjectivity has been damaged. I used to believe that choosing not to be disciplined was willing to not be like God, nothing more than the contemptible will to be animal, a prisoner of the senses. I would never have chosen this.
Such is God’s economy that, in my curious illness, I have all that I need to remember. I will never be disciplined again, at least nothing on the same order. This for me is essentially the same thing. Unlike the animal that was never meant to be self-disciplined and could never understand this, I understand fully what is entailed in this loss. I also understand what I have gained because of this loss.
It is hard to understand how something can be both so bitter and so sweet. Such is the economy of God.