Tonight’s Philosopher’s Quote (cf @philo_quotes) is from Saint Thomas Aquinas and it is a good one: “Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”
This sounds like the tagline to one of those soft focus films I hate so much, but it’s really quite dry stuff. Aquinas isn’t really talking about romantic love specifically. I believe instead that Aquinas is thinking about faith. To understand the mystery of God, for example, love picks up where knowledge leaves off. That’s where Aquinas is.
Now for those of you who want to dwell on romantic love, let’s do it, because after all without faith in romance what have you got? Clingy madness and sleepless nights? (THAT, by the way, would be a GREAT tag for a soft focus movie! Let’s do that, please.)
Think about your romantic relations. They seem to be most exciting early on when you know the least about your lover, do they not? But you’re not really making a leap of faith then, not at first, because you believe you know “this is the one.” In retrospect you might question whether it was really love at all…
It is not until you recognize that you don’t know much at all about your beloved — or your desires — but you stick it out anyway when things get interesting. This is the nexus of common ideals of love and Aquinas’s more nuanced idea come together.
You have learned more about your lover and you discovered that even the sweetest peach has a stone at its core. But you know enough to press on. So off you go, letting faith — or love — pick up where experience left off. Do good, be good.
And all the same for just about anything else you might pursue that matters. What’s your passion? Knowledge sets’ the course, but love — or faith — makes it go.
So thank you Saint Thomas Aquinas. Tomorrow…Nietzsche.