Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Welcome to Praxis and Theoria!

Dear Readers:

Thank you for visiting Praxis and Theoria. Here you will read about my random thoughts on random subjects. This is the most personal of all my websites associated with the Mystagogy Resource Center, where any topic will be discussed that I feel I want to write about in a less formal way than anywhere else. It is somewhat of a personal diary that I will be sharing with the world.

Here you will read about anything I choose to share, such as an opinion I have on something I read, or saw on TV, or heard on the radio, or a conversation I had, a song I heard, or a movie I watched. I may choose to write about somewhere I visited, a memory from the past, a hope for the future. Politics and other controversial topics will be addressed at times. Anything and everything goes here.

When I first started writing a blog in 2008, this was basically what I did. I did it for my own personal reasons and never expected anyone to read what I was writing. Nor did I want anyone to read it. That blog became pretty popular and eventually turned into an international ministry providing Orthodox Christian resources online, and it became more confined to that. Everything I wrote in 2008 I erased, and I began to focus on particular subjects in 2009, which eventually turned into the Mystagogy Resource Center in 2012. Now with Praxis and Theoria, I am returning to my original form. I am writing as if no one is listening, and I am sharing this with the public. 

Though Praxis and Theoria have a specific meaning in Orthodox Christianity, another way to look at it is in an Aristotelian way. In Ancient Greek the word praxis (πρᾶξις) referred to activity engaged in by free people. The philosopher Aristotle held that there were three basic activities of humans: theoria (thinking), poiesis (making), and praxis (doing). Corresponding to these activities were three types of knowledge: theoretical, the end goal being truth; poietical, the end goal being production; and practical, the end goal being action. Aristotle further divided the knowledge derived from praxis into ethics, economics, and politics. He also distinguished between eupraxia (εὐπραξία, "good praxis") and dyspraxia (δυσπραξία, "bad praxis").

Meanwhile, Saint Gregory the Theologian says that theoria and praxis are beneficial, because theoria elevates man's nous above earthly things; it guides him to the Holy of Holies and restores him to his original nature; whereas praxis receives and serves Christ and tests love with actions. Clearly, theoria is the vision of God - the nous' restoration and return to God; praxis is whatever deeds it takes to lead to this love (agape). Within the whole of Patristic tradition it is clear that praxis is the purification of the heart's passions and theoria is both the illumination of the nous and the vision of the uncreated glory of God.

The reason this website is part of the Mystagogy Resource Center, is because part of being human is expressing our humanity freely. People do this in various ways, and sometimes the most random things become a part of our journey. Not necessarily a spiritual journey, though that may be a part of it, but also an intellectual journey, an emotional journey, an artistic journey, a journey within, a journey without, a journey of discovery. Reading about my thoughts and feelings about random things may inspire you to embark on a similar journey, one that does not necessarily reflect my own, but its purpose is your own self-discovery. This is a part of our Praxis which may help one on the path to Theoria.

With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos