Evidence of the Soul from our Transcendental Desires I: The Basic Argument from Plato to Lonergan
There are five Transcendental Desires that were recognized around 400 BC by Plato and Aristotle. St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and many other philosophers have spoken of these same desires through the centuries.
Let’s look at how these transcendental desires indicate the presence of God to your consciousness.
What are these transcendental desires? They are our built-in desires for:
- Perfect and unconditional Truth
- Perfect and unconditional Love
- Perfect and unconditional Justice (Goodness)
- Perfect and unconditional Beauty
- Perfect and unconditional Being (Home)
Here is the basic argument of Plato which has influenced generations of philosophers:
- One of the most basic experiences we have is the experience of imperfections in the world around us. We seem to be instinctively aware of imperfections in our understanding of things (truth), imperfections in the love of others and even ourselves, imperfections in the justice or goodness of others and ourselves, imperfections in the beauty of the world around us, and imperfections in our sense of “being at home in the world.” Indeed, we seem to recognize every imperfection in these five areas – instinctively and endlessly.
- How could we recognize these imperfections unless we had an awareness of what perfection in these five areas would be like?
- As we shall see, the source of our awareness of these five kinds of perfection would have to be the five kinds of perfection themselves – and these five kinds of perfection – perfect truth, love, justice/goodness, beauty and home/being – turn out to be the one perfect God.
It looks like we have a lot of explaining to do.