Le Penseur II

“Le Penseur”, Auguste Rodin, 1904.

Le Penseur is Auguste Rodin’s sculptural masterpiece that has fascinated minds for the part of a century. At the center, is the activity of philosophy, of that form of scientific investigation armed with reason into the fundamental questions of existence: “What is God?”, “Who am I?”, “Is there a soul?”, “Is reality true?”, “What is wisdom?”, “Why is there evil?” Philosophy came into fruition thanks to the Greek contribution and comes from the Greek terms philos meaning love, and sophia meaning wisdom; hence, philosophy means love of wisdom. For Aristotle, wisdom presents as the scientific knowledge into the highest causes of reality, in a metaphysical comprehension that is ultimately theological. To acquire wisdom is to fulfill the demands of the human nature, the homo sapiens, destined towards omniscience which is a complete mastery of all science and of the knowledge of Reality as It Is.

In the power of the mental word, thought is formed, given life in a specific form that determines its meaning and its reflection of the being of the intellect, as truth itself. To think is the central activity of man, the ability to form concepts in reason and emit judgements in order to ascertain their goodness. In truth, it is the labor of intelligence, which is the light of nature that is a creative genius generating ideas out of the furniture of the mind, the apex law of the spiritual soul. Thought is a mental word that takes its origin from the activity of the soul, whose essence is thought itself. The mind thinks, because the soul has the power of thought in its anatomy. When the soul acts, it thinks, in a measure of reason that is time. Thought is the act of the soul of the rational creature according to the measure of reason. Thought is essentially rational and is the reason for the ego.

Le Penseur symbolizes in his nakedness the Greek Titan, but also the toil of man in the labor of thought, confronted with the enigma of existence that confounds the mind and fascinates the soul. In the labor that is thought, is expressed the existential problem of science, the attempt at omniscience that finally grants life its omnipotence over reality. It is the matter of the tentative to comprehend everything, the All, the totality of the causes of Reality, to grasp the most fundamental truths, to behold the most elementary principles, to fathom the most powerful forces, to investigate Reality to its last Iota of Reason and meaning. Le Penseur seeks the totality of Truth, simplifying thought to its most eminent atoms of Reason in order to reveal their formal truth.

Philosophy was formally birthed among the Greeks, yet, it has occupied the minds of men for millennia since the emergence of the human species. Since Adamic times, the Fall of Adam and Eve, man has been concerned with the question of his existence and has attempted to provide solutions for the very problem: religion, art, music, commerce, literature, mathematics, engineering – all have been attempts at solving the problem of thought, of existence, of the self, and of man. The truth of the matter, however, is that man is an animal that learns through reason in the labor of thought during his temporal existence. The life of man is certainly a tragedy, his history a drama, but human life is also a school, and the purpose of learning is to achieve mastery and even doctorate over the questions that preoccupy his mind and raise thorny issues that continue to mar his existence to this day.

All investigation begins with wonder and awe before nature, before existence, before God, before the soul and generates in turn a question, a problem, the reason for an inquiry that stimulates the mind, serves to fascinate reason, and generate in thought a curiosity, a thirst for Truth, for a union with its Reality. Philosophy is a natural inclination in man, a certain proclivity for the creature living in the crepuscule of existence, le crepuscule du monde, which veils its reason in the obscurity of ignorance and illusion, imprisoned in a dark cave that is oblivious to the life-giving rays of the sun, the portal to the light of the true Reality. In a sense, in spiritual terms, to think is to philosophize, but to reason, is to pray. Philosophy aims at theology, for God is understood to be the final end of all things, the First Cause of Reality, and the Truth of Being. It is when philosophy is theological that it fulfills the demands of thought that seeks to adore Eternal Being.

Le Penseur evidences that the task of man is to investigate the All, to seek the answer to the question of existence, to attempt to unify language into a single Word, to reveal thought as the agent of Time, that is, of an act of the soul, to form reason as the principle of thought and the measure of its intelligibility. Reason is ultimately, life’s greatest gift, a divine faculty in man that grants him dominion over the Earth, and a master of space and of time.

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