Blue poppy, Meconopsis
(Credit: Scott Murray)

My thanks to Scott Murray for allowing me to use his beautiful nature pictures and pictures of flowers.

The conversation continues between Simple Faith and Hard Going. They discuss what Dooyweerd means by the ‘heart.’

(The ‘heart’)

SF: Yes, the heart then, what’s all this fuss about the heart? Is that not a very simple word. Everyone knows what a heart is. It’s part of your body, isn’t it?
HG: And used as a metaphor for what a person feels and so on …
SF: Yes, that’s true, a person says: ‘He has no heart’ meaning he has no compassion, no feeling for others and so on.

(How Dooyeweerd uses the word)

HG: All that is true but that is not how Dooyeweerd uses the word ‘heart’. It’s an example of him taking an ordinary word and using it in a special way. Can I read you part of the definition from Troost’s book:
SF: Go ahead, I’ve got all day. As you know by now, I just love philosophy! (laughs)
HG: I think you’re beginning to warm to it. Here it is then: ‘(It is) the concentration point of human existence; the supra-temporal focus of all human temporal functions; the religious root unity of humans.’
SF: I’m not sure what all that means. What has that got to do with the Bible or Christianity or anything?
HG: Actually, this idea of the heart is central to Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. It mentions the heart a lot in the Scriptures, for example, in proverbs it says: ‘Keep you heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life.’

Welsh poppy
(Credit: Scott Murray)

(Theory and practice)

SF: That’s not philosophy, that’s practical advice for the practice of living.
HG: I’m glad you said that.
SF: Why?
HG: Because the Bible doesn’t do philosophy, it does wisdom. In the Bible there isn’t the split between ‘concrete everyday knowledge or truth’ and ‘abstract theoretical knowledge.’ Remember ‘naive experience’ and ‘theoretical thought.’
SF: O yes, I remember. We had that discussion yesterday, ‘naive’ is not such a bad word after all.
HG: No, not at all, even the most theoretical physicist is born within the mantle of functions of naive experience, and has a worldview before ever he becomes a physicist. But to get back to the heart. Different terms are used. The Bible also speaks of ‘soul’, ‘spirit’ and ‘inner man’ and philosophy refers to Ego, I, I-ness and Selfhood.
SF: So the heart is more than feeling and emotions.
HG: Oh very much so. Can I read you one more bit from Troost’s book:
SF: Go ahead, I have all day.

(‘A transcendent root unity)

HG: He says: ‘Reformational philosophy, captive to what Scripture says about the human heart, is not indulging in a “speculative fantasy” when it recognizes this unity of human life as a transcendent root unity. As regards the individual human being, it can be said that his entire existence is incorporated or comprehended in that unity of his heart.’
SF: I think I sort of understand what he’s saying, but why complicate matters by using ‘heart’ when ‘soul’ would do?
HG: A good question. I think I know the answer, but can we leave it for another day?
SF: You bet.

Orchid, Isle of Barra
(Credit: Scott Murray)