An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Whisky in God’s world of human experience

I want to go into a shop to buy a bottle of whisky.* A theologian might ask should a Christian buy and drink alcohol? and he may want to discuss the issue with me using the Scripture. If an ethicist were watching, as an ethicist, he might ask where is the best place to buy the whiskey, should I buy fair trade whiskey? Should I spend more than £30 on a single malt when a blended can be bought for under £20? A jurist might discuss the times that it legal to buy the bottle and ask is it right that so much of the price of a bottle of whisky (in the UK) is tax. An aesthetician would consider the size and shape of the bottle and the colour of the whisky, the way it is packaged, he might also pay attention to the display of the bottles in the shop and the way the shop is laid out. An economist might be primarily be interested in the cost and value of the bottle. A sociologist looking on might consider the impact of alcohol on society and she might also look at the interaction between the shopkeeper and myself. The ways of communicating between the customers and the shop keeper would come under consideration by the linguist, she might wonder about my Potteries accent and the shopkeeper’s Bristolian accent; and also ponder what does the label say about the whiskey? And what did that wink of the shopkeeper mean? A psychologist might think about what drives me to want a drink of whisky and what motivates the shopkeeper to please me.
The bottle of whiskey itself also has a number of aspects: there are a certain number of bottles on the shelf, each take up a certain amount of space, the whiskey in the bottle could be described by a chemical formula (C2H5OH), but of course it is more than that, the whiskey stays on the shelf because it obeys Newton’s laws of motion and so on.

This apparently simple task of buying a bottle of whiskey has many facets to it; God's good creation is many-faceted as Dooyeweerd has long maintained.

*With apologies to Calvin Seerveld and his discussion of cigars in 'Dooyewerd's legacy for aesthetics'.


Paul said...

And a philosopher might ask how the identity of the bottle was retained through its sudden changes from whisky to whiskey!

I recall being told that Dooyeweerd puts a strain on people, because he makes them aware of all the aspects that they have to evaluate. How would you react to that?

Steve Bishop said...

It comes from drinking Ardbega and then topping up the bottle with with Bush Mills. It's a twist on the wooden ship identity problem!

As to the second part, I would maintain that in every day living we don't abstract the modal aspects, we experience the world as an undifferentiated whole. Abstracting the aspects is done when we start to reflect on it. It is no use denying them as they are forced on us by the way the world has been created.