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The Magic of Proximity

February 27, 2022 | 322 words | Philosophy, Economics, Politics, Personal History

Because each of us is blessed with the Imago Dei, we possess an inherent dignity that is worthy of respect.  This is true regardless of our level of formal education and resulting station in life.  It is true no matter how meager our material circumstances might be.  

The Protestant Ethic behind our current version of capitalism – that worldly success is the result of temperance and hard work, and therefore an indicator of eternal salvation – has something to recommend it.   But it can also blind us to the larger reality that success if often nothing more than the luck of the draw, the result of where and when one happens to be born.  A geographic anomaly, if you will.

In this same vein, the magic of moving pictures – conjured up and made part of our lives in just the last hundred years – has fixated us on the striking physical characteristics of the most handsome and beautiful members of the species.  These attention-getters have done nothing to earn their good looks, but are merely the beneficiaries of a fortunate combination of genes.

While thus bedazzled, we are prone to look past the inner beauty of those around us – be they men, women, or children.  That everyone possesses their own unique set of appealing characteristics is the Imago Dei at work.  We would all be happier if we spent less time ogling over the surface appeal of “stars,” and more time appreciating the qualities and gifts displayed by those in our immediate circle of acquaintance – family, co-workers, and friends.

Take the average, age-appropriate woman, for instance.  The sort of person one might consider as a potential romantic partner.  Someone who seems unremarkable at arm’s length becomes downright alluring when one gets a little closer.  Her eyes, her hair – my word, even her hands. The shadow of her smile. This is what might be called the magic of proximity. 

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr

February 21, 2022

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