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BOOK REVIEWS 161 Ignatius. According to Harak, a connection between St. Thomas and St. Ignatius lies in the affirmation of the primacy of the imagination. Though he admits that St. Thomas "is not strong in his discussion of the imagination in the Treatise on the Passions" (98), Harak never fully explains that the reason why this is so is that, for St. Thomas, reason (and not the imagination) is the most adequate guide to a life of virtue. Still, Harak is correct in recognizing that St. Thomas and St. Ignatius would agree that "our passions become neither moral nor holy by some kind of suppression or Cartesian control. They become holy through our habitual communion with Jesus, through our passion for God" (117). The Thomisitically motivated meditation on the Exercises (as well as the reflection on the life of non-violence undertaken in the last chapters) is spirited in its development and marks an important element of his work. Harak's book serves as a catalyst for further discussion and inquiry into the possibilities of a contemporary engagement with Aquinas. Each chapter, taken independently, lights up aspects to be considered by those engaged in the questions of passion, virtue, and Christian moral maturity, though the connections among the chapters are not always clear. Notwithstanding the reservations mentioned here, the book could serve as an instructive piece, engaging Thomists, psychologists, and students of the Christian moral life alike. University ofSt. Thomns St. Paul, Minnesota CHRISTOPHER J. THOMPSON letters from lake Como: Explorations in Technology and the Human Race. By ROMANO GUARDINI. Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Introduction byLouis Dupre. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans. 1994. Pp. 130. $9.99 (paper). The new Ressourcement series extends the "Retrieving the Tradition" feature of Communio International Catholic Review. Guardini's book fits the purpose , for it could not have been written without St. Thomas's hylomorphic anthropology or epistemology of the existential judgment. Written in the 1920s, these letters show a chilling prescience of technology run amok. And they give a dramatic account of the gaining of their final insight. They form a trilogy with the later Power and Responsibility and The End of the Modern World. The first letter seeks an integral metaphysics of technology and of human nature. The inhabitation and industrialization of the entire landscape from 162 BOOK REVIEWS Milan to Lake Como saddened Guardini. The problem was not the urbanity that is humanity. The sudden sight of a factory gave him a deep sense that death was somehow overtaking life. The second letter finds his sadness deepened , for a longing for untouched nature is a result of culture, not barbaric. Culture is human intervention in nature to serve the spiritual needs of persons within the natural world. Technology denies these needs and alienates us from nature. Both culture and technology are artifices, but culture respects natural limits. A sailboat distances us from nature as swimming does not. Naturally heavy, it is by human artifice light enough to be moved by the wind. But in it we retain a closeness to nature that suits our human make-up, minds above matter and yet integrated into it. An ocean liner is totally artificial, thus crossing a border that alienates us from nature. The problem is to identify that border. The third letter begins an answer. Culture, as symbolic, mediates between nature and the human spirit even while creating a certain necessary distance between them. It draws us away from concreteness to find a universal rather than an ad hoc stance toward raw nature. The question intensifies: Is an alienating abstraction our only way to the universal? Guardini's answer is a strong Thomistic "No!" Human intellection reaches the universal in the singular , not in isolation from it. A false abstraction makes symbols ends in themselves. But, as a means, abstractions mediate our encounter with singular concrete realities, enabling us to integrate the universal and the particular . Human knowing attains the truth of things, which remains its constant criterion. Later theories of knowing would make abstract concepts the primary object of the mind, leading to the nominalism of modem science and the arrogance of the technological imperative. A monstrously heightened cognition of the...


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