Friday, February 23, 2018

Essence and Existence

Fr. Mark Higgins, guest blogger writes:

Classically speaking Thomists tend to say that unicorns and anime characters and Bart Simpsons do not exist, they have "essence" but not "existence".

I'm not so sure about all this, you see, I think Cloud Strife, Sonic and Frodo Baggins do exist, obviously not in the same sense that you, or I, or the keyboard that I am touching, "exist" but nonetheless this is something very real about these characters.

The characters of fiction have a life, their authors and developers conceive them and then we all maintain them through our imaginations, through cosplay, through fan fiction... they then influence our culture and our lives. Basically they, in some sense, exist, and not just analogically, they really have a level of existence, they aren't just non existing essences.

How do they exist? They exist as relative to our minds, they are conceived in human minds and are sustained collectively. This is something amazing and incredible about humanity, something that completely differentiates us from all the other non-human and non-angelic creatures.

Everything that exists exists relative to a mind. So much of our collective culture is sustained in this way, a whole universe of literature and art is sustained in this way.

And here is the point I want to get to.... the way in which we maintain the existence of imaginary things through the power of human minds is exactly parallel to the way that the Absolute Mind creates and sustains the whole universe, we are sustained by a mind, just as Pikachu and the Hydra are our creates and are sustained by our minds, we are God's creatures and we are sustained by His Mind.

Psalm 136 reads:
"And in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!"

Indeed, how precious are the thoughts of the Almighty, I am a thought of the Almighty and in my little imaginary creations I bestow an existence that is a type or reflection of the existence that He bestows on me as He sustains my very being with His Absolute Mind.

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