Thursday, March 11, 2010

70 / A Piece Of Work

An online "Urban Dictionary" says this phrase refers to "a person whose stupidity and ignorance never fail to amaze you." That pretty much captures the way I have heard the expression used. And I've heard it used a lot, and for good reason!

Shakespeare's Hamlet seems to arrive at a comparable judgment, though he begins in a different place: "What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me ... "

If we fail to be delighted with ourselves (and isn't that true, and for good reason?), I tend to think it is because we seek to move beyond mere "apprehension." How like God we are in our apprehension! But we are not God.

Shakespeare's Hamlet got it right. We are "the paragon of animals," mere creatures, not the Creator, except for those human works which ultimately are utterly dependent on the world that God created. Seeking more, our actions manifest a stupidity and ignorance that is, truly, amazing.

What a piece of work is man!

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