For the sake of argument, let us agree that I am no priviledged or polished student of pedantry. I am a butterfly who flutters about from one object (or subject) to another: poised, curious, musing a moment, then moving on.
The last library trip I made, I decided to cast my fate to the wind (song, "Cast your Fate to the Wind," by Vince Guaraldi: genius!) and choose a number of books I would less likely have chosen were it not for the fact that I was in one of those moods of adventure and exploration.
I chose a book (not the abovementioned) called From the Angel's Blackboard: the best of Fulton J. Sheen. Frankly, and embarrassed to admit, I did not know who he was, but adored the front cover of a partially silouetted man with striking facial features, intense eyes, and a lovely profile, placed in front of a darkened backdrop; only the letters of the title boomed forth, with a footnote at the bottom: A Triumph Classic (the publisher).
I checked it out and proceeded to flip through the pages, discovering that this man was an archibishop, the picture being in his youth, and having been born in an age of astronomical changes (1895-1979), I decided I had made a good choice. I checked out the book and anxiously went home to peruse the pages, and retrived an overall thematic premise: Life is worth living. In such an age as our own, today, this seemed to me to be worthy of a good read and possibly consider a new version from the standpoint of a woman like me: ever-striving, never reaching.
Much later on (weeks) and while hunting for subject matter during another one of my periods of insight, and in a research mode, I found a quote I lingered upon, not really knowing why it intrigued me; I was seeking something of interest for my writer's website. The picture of the book online struck me as de ja vu, for I saw the picture, almost in the same manner as the one I explained about to you, a moment ago. I thought it was about the same man, Fulton J. Sheen, but I was introduced to a second man. First, here is the quote:
A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective.
US (Hungarian-born) physicist (1908 - 2003)
As is my personality, I began to be curious about time, matter, etc., and thought about the fact that Edward Teller was born in 1908, while Fulton J. Sheen was born in 1895: 13 years difference. I then began to think about the other end of each man's life. Edward Teller died in 2003, while Fulton J. Sheen died in 1979: 24 years difference. Edward Teller lived to be 95; Fulton J. Sheen lived to be 84. Surely, they would have had to have met at some point in their lives, though they most probably ran in different circles--or did they?
What was I doing, and why? I wasn't sure just yet.
I contemplated further: Edward Teller was a physicist; Fulton J. Sheen was a philosopher. Edward Teller devoted his life to science and participated in the making of the Atomic Bomb. He was instrumental in the forum for nuclear power as protection and for use in technological futuristic possibilities. His lectures were filled with the plea for peace, tolerance, and moderation. He was a seemingly just man and his science reflected his personality.
Fulton J. Sheen was instrumental in the saving of lives because of the insurmountable increase of suicides in his day; the same time as the atomic age, and was a speaker on NBC's "Catholic Hour' and had a popular TV show (when TV was just getting started) called "Life is Worth Living." Fulton J. Sheen devoted his life to study, speaking, and delivering hope to the masses. He contemplated all the big questions that live secretly in each of our hearts, and distinguished between the mind (intellectualism) and the will (inspired physical activity by the mind). He, too, was a just man in his reflections that manifested his personality.
I looked at these two men, their portraits, both books with the same approach: a lovely profile half-silouetted, attesting to only a partial rendition of light; both men's features outlined by the looming darness behind them....both at their earlier years, both men contemplative-looking, both men reflecting upon the lives of the many, their own, and the origin of their manifestations--different, yet so similar.
This little exercise of mine has really nothing to do with anything other than the fact that I LOVE to read other peoples' minds, thoughts, views, values, and accomplishments: it gives me a sense of curious joy to look at life from the standpoint of another human being.
But these two men, one may argue, were from wholly different walks of life; one a scientist, who studies concrete knowledge, while the other a philosopher, who studies abstract knowledge. I found them to have something in common which brings them to a plane of similarity. Both men sought truth and value in themselves as well as others. Which brings me to my title. For those people who are afraid to pick up a "religiously-originated" book, and for those carefully fearful minds who dare not read a scientists' view, both parties must learn to see both sides and bring to bed--as it were--these strange bedfellows....I promise you, it will only make your pleasure in living expand.
Footnote: Sorry, I could not download the picture of Fulton J. Sheen, which would have shown you the similarity of the two men. If I get to scan it in the nearest future, I will post the two men and their books, side by side..
Sheen, Fulton J. (1995). From the Angel's Blackboard: the Best of Fulton J. Sheen. Triumph Books, Liguori, Missouri.
Teller, E., and Shoolery, J. (2001). A Twentieth Century Journey in Science and Politics . Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, MA.