“By defending the human being, beauty also defends philosophy. It protects the great question which man himself becomes from being broken down into petty problems.”
1. Man lives and creates philosophy when faced with his own death, he challenges heaven with a great question which he himself has become: “Where do I come from and where am I going?”1 This magna quaestio of Saint Augustine is what Plato calls meditatio mortis and preparatio ad mortem.
The question, “where do I come from and where am I going?” makes evident to man the fact that he is greater than anything he could possibly think himself to be. This is why the answers constructed by the philosophers pass man by without even grazing the truth of his being a person. The answer would have to come from above. In fact, the great question leads man outside of himself and directs his steps towards Heaven. Awaiting the answer, modern philosophers speak of the transcendence of the human person, while the Greeks spoke of anagogé, that is, man’s being “led up.”
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1. Cf. Stanislaw Grygiel, “The Meaning of Suffering in the Secularized World,” Revue Théologique de Lugano 1 (1996): 45–59.