SupernaturalIncoming Links📙 A Rumor of AngelsInstead, let us look at the ordinary world, which some philosophers have called the Lebenswelt, or “life-world,” within which we carry on our “normal” activities in collaboration with other men. This is the arena of most of our projects in life, whose reality is strongest and thus the most “natural” in our consciousness. This, in the words of the social philosopher Alfred Schutz, is “the world of daily life which the wide-awake, grown-up man who acts in it and upon it amidst his fellow-man experiences within the natural attitude as a reality.” It is to this domain of taken-for-granted, “natural” experience (not necessarily to “nNature in the sense of, say, the eighteenth-century rationalists) that religion posits a “Supernatural” reality.Whatever the situation may have been in the past, today the Supernatural as a meaningful reality is absent or remote from the horizons of everyday life of large numbers, very probably of the majority, of people in modern societies, who seem to manage to get along without it quite well. This means that those to whom the Supernatural is still, or again, a meaningful reality find themselves in the status of a minority, more precisely, a cognitive minority—a very important consequence with very far-reaching implications.Whatever the differences in method, the result is very similar in all these cases: The Supernatural elements of the religious traditions are more or less completely liquidated, and the traditional language is transferred from other-worldly to this-worldly referents. The traditional lore, and in most cases the religious institution in charge of this lore as well, can then be presented as still or again “relevant” to modern man.Intellectuals are notoriously haunted by boredom (they like to call this “alienation” nowadays). Our intellectual maharajas are no exception, if only because they mainly talk to each other. There is no telling what outlandish religiosity, even one dripping with savage Supernaturalism, may yet arise in these groups, which will once more leave our theologian where he started, on the outside of the cocktail party, looking in.There is scattered evidence that secularization may not be as all-embracing as some have thought, that the Supernatural, banished from cognitive respectability by the intellectual authorities, may survive in hidden nooks and crannies of the culture.It is a fairly reasonable prognosis that in a “surprise-free” world the global trend of secularization will continue. An impressive rediscovery of the Supernatural, in the dimensions of a mass phenomenon, is not in the books.If the religious projections of man correspond to a reality that is superhuman and Supernatural, then it seems logical to look for traces of this reality in the projector himself.The logic of the argument from play is very similar to that of the argument from order. The experience of joyful play is not something that must be sought on some mystical margin of existence. It can be readily found in the reality of ordinary life. Yet within this experienced reality it constitutes a signal of transcendence, because its intrinsic intention points beyond itself and beyond man’s “nature” to a “Supernatural” justification.Let us return once more to the juxtaposition of the “natural” and the “Supernatural,” as these terms were used earlier. I maintain that there is a dichotomy in the human situation between a middle ground, which is the realm of ordinary, everyday life in society, and various marginal realms in which the taken-for-granted assumptions of the former realm are threatened or put in question.A rediscovery of the Supernatural will be, above all, a regaining of openness in our perception of reality.It is to this domain of taken-for-granted, “natural” experience (not necessarily to “Nature” in the sense of, say, the eighteenth-century rationalists) that religion posits a “Supernatural” reality.📙 All Things ShiningIt is worth noting that although there is nothing mysterious about this vision of the master wheelwright—it is in no way magical or Supernatural—nevertheless this phenomenon is already a revelation. For considered properly it is the clue to a whole new understanding of who we are.📙 The Second-Person Perspective in Aquinas’s EthicsWe need not only the natural principles, but also the dispositions of the virtues, in order to be completed as human beings in the way that is natural to us, as I said above. Similarly, then, by divine influence man pursues not only the Supernatural principles just mentioned but also certain infused virtues, through which he is completed for doing whatever is ordered to the goal of eternal life.Aquinas’s introduction of a ‘Supernatural end’ introduces yet another novel element to the interpretation of the virtues. According to the passages above, the infused virtues are ordered to a Supernatural end, described as eternal life with God. The acquired virtues, by contrast, are ordered to the capacity of human nature. So Aquinas proposes a twofold human end, natural and Supernatural.Given its modern connotations, influenced especially by Nietzsche, it is tempting to assume that the word ‘Supernatural’ has a well-defined referent. Taken in isolation, however, the Latin term Supernaturalis simply means ‘above’ or ‘beyond’ the natural.