This quote may seem a bit dense the first time through; but it’s worth it. (It’s from a text in philosophical theology – Faith Seeking Understanding – by Robert Earl Cushman.) I find it very pertinent to our lives as American patriots. “What is not effectually known is precisely what is not adequately loved.”
We hear a lot of talk about haters of America, which implies that the speakers are the opposite – lovers of America.
We hear a lot of talk about defending the Constitution and interpreting it properly – which implies a love of the Constitution, what it stands for, and what it was trying to achieve (with considerable success, by historical standards).
We hear a lot of talk about defending our freedoms, which implies loving our freedoms. The point of this quote is that all that love requires KNOWING! What are our freedoms? What freedoms were the Founders, and all those elections, and all those media efforts, and all those wars, trying to preserve for us? Why do they matter? Are we using them?
What is known cannot be divorced from what is loved. At the very minimum, all cognition is directly dependent on interest, and nothing is fully known to which the consent of the will has not been given. The completion of cognition lies with affection. Thus full cognition is re-cognition.
Augustine held that in knowledge the cognitive faculty (ratio) “takes in,” according to its power, reality both eternal and temporal, but that being primarily passive or neutral it is directed to “recognize” what it does recognize in virtue of the will or dominant affection of the mind. Therefore, what is not effectually known is precisely what is not adequately loved.
Let’s not brag too much about how we love America if we are not willing to shut our mouths and open our eyes and ears a bit to try to really KNOW America; because you cannot love well enough what you do not know well.
Or as another book of philosophical theology (and ethics) says, “The first act of love is always the giving of attention.” [Dallas Willard in The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives]