Objective, Tango (Apologies to Shakira)

I object. I, object.

By: FRATER BOVIOUS

Objection 1: Tango is not meant for three, so sayeth Shakira. Response to Objection 1: Except in the case of the Trinity.

Objection 1: Tango is not meant for three, so sayeth Shakira.
Response to Objection 1: Except in the case of the Trinity.

(CARROLLTON, TX – Cradle of Civilization) Do you object to objective reality? What is your objection?

Once upon a time, in a strange land removed from today more by ideology than distance and time, nuns taught their students to diagram sentences. They were also teaching logic and an ancient coherent world view. Of course we were blissfully unaware of such lofty ends.

The object of the sentence was the recipient of an action. John hit the ball. The ball is the object, John is the subject. It looks like this:

diagram

In a language like English, sentence order matters. “Ball hit John” is different from “John hit ball.” This is not the case in Latin, which is a highly inflected language. What that means is that the words change in some way to indicate who is doing what. So, you could write Ball hit John, and because of the stem changes in the words, it could mean John hit the ball. You can put ball first, and John near the end and have the same meaning in English, but you need to add several words. The ball was hit by John. It looks like this:

ball hit john

The point is there is an initiator of an action and a recipient of the action, and different languages have different methods for making this apparent.

In the age of People and Self magazines, it seems that in the USA people want and prefer to be the subject, that is the initiator of the actions, and therefore see the world as the object which should be the recipient of our actions. This world can include other people, and when we say we objectify something it means we see it as something that exists for our benefit. The idea that we exist for someone else’s benefit is not considered to be a healthy world view. And, this has given rise to “rights talk” and an overemphasis on “my rights” and the duties the world has toward us so as not to infringe on our rights.

This is why people tend to dislike terms like “duty” and “obligation.” Somewhere inside people see this as meaning they are the objects, the passive recipients.

Yet, we are the recipients in this universe. We received existence. We are the passive recipients of God’s love. Passive in that we simply received existence. We didn’t ask for it (obviously, right?) This free gift implies a duty. A duty to know and acknowledge the source of our existence. A duty to participate fully in His existence.

And this means that our rights flow from our duties. Because we have a duty to take care of our families, we have the right to earn a living. Because we have a duty to give all the glory to God, we have a right to Church.

In our interactions with others, we sometimes give, sometimes receive. It takes two to tango, as they say. Yet our objective is a Trinitarian Tango – active participation in the Gift we have received. You, me, God. Arrange the words however you want; God is the Subject.

 


Daily Post: Object

 

 

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