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The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

May 16, 2011

Donald Miller on how the fall makes us feel:

I’ve been reading David Brooks wonderful book The Social Animal recently and found interesting parallels between his explanation of early child development and life before the fall. I wondered as he described the minds of children if Jesus invitation to come to him like Children doesn’t involve some absence of self and interdependence that we only find in children.

Children are so in need of intimacy they feel they don’t exist unless  in relationship to another person. Not unlike the Trinity, they lose their identity outside of community.

Brooks quotes Colreidge’s lines “Ere yet a conscious self exists, the love begins; and the first love is love of another. The Babe acknowledges a self in the Mother’s form years before it can recognize a self in its own.” Brooks goes on to say Coleridge described how his own child, then three years old, awoke during the night and called out to his mother. “Touch me, only touch me with your finger,” the young boy pleaded. The child’s mother was astonished. “Why?” she asked. “I’m not here,” the boy cried. “Touch me, Mother, so I may be here.”

Often when I consider the ramifications of the fall and how narrowly we define and reduce those complicated dynamics, how we reduce them to lust and greed and petty vices, I realize something much greater has happened. Essentially, we are all calling out for God to touch us that we may know we are here, and yet he waits, and we go untouched and seek out the knowing we exist in a thousand other ways.

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