The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

And on a more serious note:

Whilst perusing Jimmy Akin's blog, I came across the latest info re: Embryonic Stem Cell Research and its ethical reprocussions.

Apparently, there have been two suggested alternatives to how to go about conducting ESCR, which Jimmy has addressed here and here. It's well worth a read-through.

Of course, as he and others far wiser than I, well acknowledge, all this debate is the treatment of the syndrome and not the cause. To reason backwards in our line of inquiry, we are at the point of asking: "How can we harvest ESC's" whereas before we were asking "Should we harvest ESC's" whereas before that we were asking "How do we view the pre-born" which brings us always back to the question of "What does it mean to be human?"

I have just finished reading (mea culpe mea culpe for not doing so long beforehand!) The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis and was particularly struck by his explanation of our perceived "conquering of Nature." Basically, as we attempt to tame Nature, we create Nature - that is as we attempt to control, we objectify what we control. When we then attempt to control ourselves, we objectify ourselves. So in the end, we have become the very things (whats, not whos) who are controlled. But by what? Lewis very pratically says that we should be Communism-like controlled by those who first created us. This is true: those who conquered humanity left their blueprint upon us and we react accordingly. But Kierkegaard in his "Sickness Unto Death" (of which I've only read selections in the Great Books program but which I should like to read in its entirety!) points out that no matter what one does or perceives he does, he is never free from the Author of Life.

So here is the Divine Comedy if you will - the two forms of conquering of the self. For we may conquer the self in order to be reborn, or we may conquer the self and consign ourselves to living death. For we often forget that we are eternal beings, and that the veil of death is simply that: a veil. Dante is crowned king of himself at the end of the Purgatorio NOT because he has conquered himself by objectifying himself, but because he has conquered that which was NOT of the self but seems to be the whole of the self and thus joined in the salvation of the self to true life. "Die with Christ to rise with Christ." He reconciled himself to his dependency upon his Creator, and thus to himself.

Compare this with modern man who does not conquer the self, but attempts to destroy it, to objectify it, to debase it - I might prefer the word "subsume" rather than Lewis' "conquer" for the latter still has some element of nobility about it. Modern man attempts to make all those bits which are attached barnacle-like at birth to the self the whole of the self; it attempts to strip away the self and then discovers the hellish void of nothingness beneath. It - for modern man strives to be an indistinguishable it, responsible for nothing, including its very being - strives to be another god and discovers himself a number.

Compare this to the botch we've gotten ourselves into regarding embryonic stem cell research. Selfishly, we destroyed the true natural means whereby man may reproduce, and played god by creating hundreds of children. Then, still drunk on our audacity, we ignore our very creation, we objectify our infants and wonder how else we might achieve earthly immortality. (For actual immortality, dependent upon God, is unthinkable.)

How pitiable that we should attempt to hold against the pitiless march of time which acts not cruelly, but kindly, to bring us to our Master! I seem to see us clutching rocks in the stream, dying slowly of hypothermia because we will not exercise our limbs. Our standing still is killing us. There is a spring of Eternal Life, and it comes from the side of Christ - yet we still search for any other water rather than kneel before the one who came to save us. There is no need for "theraputic cloning" - we are shrivelled beings inside, not out.

Oh! I am flitting from thought to thought with nothing to the point! The cloning story is still tickling the back of my mind - the question of what it means to be human (the very fact that we question that is the answer, in part! Honestly, folk - forest for trees?). Anywho....

Right. As for me, to be myself includes, at this present moment, deciding what color dresses and tabards my characters are going to wear. Silly Emily. Silly old bear!

Mood: Many are the smells in my room. Yes, that's a mood.
Music: Three Weird Sisters - the frog album, I forget the name. Alas, I will always think of Trogdor the burninator when listening to this CD.
Thought: What? Above wasn't enough? Alright - Jules makes an AWESOME spice cake!

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