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The Priest Triad of Virtues: Vision

With my understanding of this Virtue a translation had to come, since there is no single equivalent word, that would bear all the meanings in Czech.

Ultimately I chose “Prozíravost” which I believe might be a direct translation from medieval church Latin “providentia”, as in providentia Dei, the vision of God. Who else should have a better “ability to broaden one´s perspective to have a greater understanding of their place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present and future” than the Deities themselves?

The interesting point there is that we have two very similar Czech words that both translate as providentia. One is “Prozíravost”, which is used in human-related context (i.e. a man is “prozíravý”), whereas the second, “Prozřetelnost” is only used to relate to the Sacred. Either is it used to signify (roughly put) the aspect of God in his all-seeing, all-knowing nature (“Prozřetelnost Boží”) or it can be used as a stand-alone noun, roughly synonymous with fate. However, “fate” would be a crudely flattening translation.

“Prozřetelnost” is scarcely used in contemporary Czech, due to its Christian tint and even more so because it´s a highly theological concept. “Prozíravost”, just like many abstract words, has acquired an undeserved, shallow understanding. When the word is used in a common context – which is sort of rare anyway – people assume you mean something like “being a bit cunning”.

A more detailed exploration reveals that there´s much more to it than guessing in advance, perhaps with the aid of knowledge that is not commonly accessible (which is what is sort of implies).

Vision (Prozíravost) is literally seeing-forth. The verb formed from the same root, “prozřít” (lit. see-through [something, esp. a falsehood, to “wake up” from an illusion]), point us to a completely new aspect of the quality, because it implies that it consists of seeing the true nature of things. This comes clear when we take a look at another derivative of the verb, which is “prozření”, explicitly used in spiritual context (esp. Buddhist) to mark a crucial experience on the path; a waking up, shattering of the old concepts, breaking free from the falsehood – implying something radical about the change of one´s perspective, the way he sees the world around and his role in it, his vision of reality.

In the Pagan world-view, Vision ties closely to the practice of divination. It´s not surprising that in many languages expressions for a “prophet” or “seer” are directly derived from roots somehow tied to the root “sight”. It´s natural, because we as humans gather a vast majority of all information by sight. In my native language one can observe a close link between “to know” (vědět) and “to see” (vidět). A fairy-tale character, for example, is often described as both vševědoucí (all-knowing) and vševidoucí (all-seeing). “Děd Vševěd”, for example, is the old man who knows everything. He is, in fact, Father Sun, who oversees all things that happen on the Earth each day, as he rides in his chariot on the sky.

From my linguistic contemplations is seems that Vision is something that only the Gods possess in whole, therefore it could be said I consider Vision a grace rather than a virtue in true sense. Yet I believe that those who pursue their spiritual path genuinely can expect to grow in their vision. By mastering divination, for example, one can expect to grow more sensitive to the patterns of the spiritual world and open up to channel the Divine Providence. It could also be said that it is beneficial to cultivate a patron relationship to a Deity in general, because they have substantially greater Vision than we do and they can share a part of it with us. I personally worship Athena under the names of Pronoia and Ambouleia, the Goddess who sees forth and gives valuable advice.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
This is a fascinating take on vision, but I come away with a question:

In this understanding, how is vision still a virtue, i.e. a quality or excellence of human character which can be cultivated? I get the impression more of a grace than a virtue. This seems suggested from the mention of "gaining" some vision on the way, vision as a "gift" rather than "skill," and the example of Buddhist insight which I'm reading as some kind of satori.

And on a completely different note, the personal interpretation (last two paragraphs) seems relatively weak after the strong linguistic contemplations bit. You might want to shore that up a bit. ;-)
Sep. 25th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. You see, these are very subtle things to describe in a foreign language... I might shorten the end. I really do see Vision as more of a grace than virtue, and I think that such a perspective can appearas well in the DP since I have seen others to for example feel that Fertility or Integrity are not Virtues in a true sense.
Sep. 26th, 2008 05:17 am (UTC)
Very true. That was going to be my next comment actually: to state straight out that you consider it more of a grace than a virtue, and offer that as a critique of the 9 Virtues. ;-)
Oct. 1st, 2008 06:55 am (UTC)
Do you now like the ending better?
Oct. 1st, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)
Re: Editing
Yes, now it will be clear to your reviewer that you've thought about it as a virtue, but concluded otherwise. And it still leaves room for some personal cultivation, which adds nuance. ;-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )