sâmbătă, 1 septembrie 2012

Being Afraid of Aging and God



The phenomenon of aging is not fully apprehended by our conscience.

Nobody has the ideas that he is a child, a young or an old man fully developed in his conscience. We partially develop such ideas when others remind us about them or when we look to our own body as if we be other persons than us. For when we look to our bodies by ourselves, we do not see anything else than that it is our body; a child cannot personally feel that its body is still immature.

In fact, our conscience is aware of the phenomenon of aging as a state of turmoil that someone else or we as if we would be different than us could question our whole personality concerning its age. We are really afraid of the questions like ‘Am I really a young man and have all the possibilities of choosing my life?’ or ‘Am I really one of those old men I used to scornfully or indulgently treat?’ The real personal uncertainty about our age proves itself in many of our experiences of life when we act inadequate to our age.

The feeling of unrest concerning the process of aging spreads over the moral domain, too. We also are unquiet that someone else or we as different persons could judge our actions in a definite way. Though, as like as the bodily processes, we cannot be fully aware of the moral value of our actions by ourselves. The questions like ‘Am I not just a deceiver, a greedy person, etc.?’ and the possibility that others will judge us explicitly in this manner are constant features of the psychology of moral life. We quiet down only as much as we can look to our actions as such, in which the involvement of our body makes futile or secondary the moral judgments.

For the religious person, such inquietude manifests itself as the fear of being judged as a sinner. When he clearly has before his eyes the perspective of dissolution of his body, he knows that he will not have any defense against the judgment of his behavior. He has no more help from the neuter bodily life. Therefore, he fears about the divine judgment not for the punishment he could receive, but rather for the fact that he could be precisely judged for facts he could not see by himself as being wrong. All the fears of aging and of moral judgment are concentrated in the fear of God.