|01-03-2011 - Traces, n. 3
THE ONLY WEAPON
What do we mean when we say we need to judge? And why is it so urgent, as the Pope points out, that "the intelligence of faith become intelligence of reality"? Let's be quite clear: at times it escapes us. We tend to think of it as something that has nothing to do with what makes the world go around. It's alright for "reality," which is a big word, or rather a wide one, so wide that we end up manipulating it as if it were an idea, an abstraction. In this way, the argument holds up, but when we drop down from "reality" into facts–home life, work, politics–we imperceptibly change direction. Almost without realizing it, we reduce judgment and cognition to an exhausting and rather obsessive attempt to make a list of the data, the better to analyze them, to take them apart and put them back together in a more orderly way, as if they were the pieces of a jigsaw, until the last piece falls into place and we are able to solve the puzzle and say, "I've got it."
Okay, let's try, for example, before the epochal change looming over North Africa. Let's try to see if, in order to understand more, it's enough to stack up information, to line up the pieces of the clock before us, one by one, down to the last cogwheel, and try to grasp the sense of it all, as Fr. Giussani wrote in one of the simplest and most suggestive examples in The Religious Sense. Something is missing. Some days ago, in a meeting of university students, one of them told of his praiseworthy attempt to get a better grasp of what he'd been reading on the front pages. He had spent a weekend studying the newspapers, a whole heap of them. He said, "On Sunday evening I was more confused than before." The urgency, the need to judge, had been left unanswered. In this case, too, there was something missing–the criterion for judging.
So we don't suspend judgment, nor do we postpone it. We don't budge an inch, as you'll see in Page One article of this issue and in the other articles dealing with North Africa and the earthquake in Japan.