Saturday, August 25, 2007

Swimming With the Big Fishes in the Ocean of Being (3.15.12)

A quick but cooncentrated Saturday post...

Now, as I said, the human being is faced with a range of phenomena of which he needs to take account and make sense... of. And if he is to comprehend the totality of existence, then the True Philosopher, the extreme seeker after knowledge, the ardent lover of wisdom, the off-road spiritual adventurer, must exclude nothing (including, of course, nothing).

Being that he did not bearth or begaial himself and stands in a venerable stream of tradition, he will especially avoid dissing in it and dismissing the illustrious minds that went before, most of whom found the existence of Spirit to be soph-evident. If embracing the superfishy smells of a Dawkins or Dennett means rejecting the oceanic depths of Plato, Aquinas or Augustine, then so much the worse for the modern misosophers who are blind to the big lebowskis that exceed the limits of their reason, the denizen cohns of the deep that cannot be landed with their teeny poles.

Those who "go off the deep end" receive all of the attention from mental health professionals, but it is also possible -- more common, actually -- to fall off the shallow end, "to lose everything but one's reason," as someone once said. These people can't really be helped, since they find the shallow end to be quite congenial to their simple souls. They know how to wade, to tread water, to dog-paddle, and that's all they want or need to know. This blog is not addressed to them, so I don't know why they keep returning. They'll just keep crapsizing unless they overcome their dysluxia and learn to god-paddle in the bobtismal waters.

The materialists propose what amounts to an absurdly false hierarchy with man at the top, but no way to explain how he got there (since there can be no objective progress in a random and meaningless cosmos). As Schuon explains,

"To say that man is the measure of all things is meaningless unless one starts from the idea that God is the measure of man, or that the absolute is the measure of the relative, or again, that the universal Intellect is the measure of individual existence.... Once man makes himself a measure, while refusing to be measured in turn, or once he makes definitions while refusing to be defined by what transcends him and gives him all meaning, all human reference points disappear; cut off from the Divine, the human collapses."

This is why there can be no philosophy more anti-human than humanism; you cannot turn man into a god without placing him beneath himself, for you simply create a demon who is beyond good and evil.

"Intelligence is the perception of a reality, and a fortiori the perception of the Real as such" (Schuon). Therefore, intelligence is the ability to discern the Real from the unreal, or from the "less real."

Furthermore, intelligence itself must share something of the substance of the Real, or it could not possibly know it. Ultimately, Truth and Intelligence must be two aspects of the same thing, or both are meaningless, at least as far as humans are concerned.

As Schuon explains, "the sources of our transcendent intuitions are innate data, consubstantial with pure intelligence." This is a key insight into how and why the intellect "resonates" with divine revelation and with the "inward appearance" of things in general. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, just as our physical eye perceives empirical reality, our spiritual vision is able to perceive the vertical realm. Or, to paradoxaphrase Eckhart, "the eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."

To put it another way, Intelligence itself is proof of eternal values, since man's intellect would be inexplicable -- for it would lose its sufficent reason -- if deprived of "its most fundamental or loftiest contents," which include Truth, Reality, and the Absolute.

Conversely, you can say -- as do postmodernists and other tenured apes -- that objective truth doesn't exist; but if so, then neither does intelligence, so there is no reason to pay any attention to their avowed lack thereof.

Scientific materialism provides us with facts and details, but no wisdom as to what they mean, or even whether it is worthwhile to know them. Philosophy, in the words of Josef Pieper, is simply "the hunt for that which is worth knowing, for that wisdom which makes one unconditionally wise..."

In fact, Pieper's conception is quite similar to Schuon's, in that he regards philosophy as being concerned with reality as a whole and with wisdom in its entirety, which can be seen as two aspects of the same underlying unity. He quotes Plato, who wrote that the lover of wisdom seeks not this or that part, but "integrity and wholeness in all things human and divine."

Clearly this is not so of science (nor should it be), which explicitly limits itself (or should, anyway) to this or that aspect or part of the cosmos, not its totality. It does, however, assume that there is a totality, even though this totality can obviously never be observed or proven empirically. No one but the Creator has ever seen the cosmos. In fact, one could say that Cosmos and Creator are also two aspects of a single reality. There is no cosmos that cannot be known, nor knowledge in the absence of a hierarchically structured cosmos. Again, Being is Truth, at least around these parts.

Pieper agrees that "it is downright unphilosophical" to arbitrarily "exclude formally any attainable data concerning reality," including sexy bartenders and all they don't know. To reduce reality to what may be clearly and unambiguously known through the scientific method is to in effect say that "I want to know only what can be made compellingly obvious and is thoroughly demonstrable." Such an approach is not worthy of the name "philosophy." Philosophy begins where science ends, which is to say, at the edge of the known, where it shades off into the vast unKnown that shines forth with a dark light visible to the eye of the soul.

Which is why man is the pascally whybit who "transcends himself to an infinite degree." This is only possible in d'light of d'vine Absolute.

31 Comments:

Blogger Mizz E said...

Cooncentrated, cogent and coherent as Cosmos and Creator [being] two aspects of a single reality.

What is it about Saturday?

8/25/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hmm. Guess I should have saved this for Monday. Nobody's here anyway.

8/25/2007 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

...."it is downright unphilosophical" to arbitrarily "exclude formally any attainable data concerning reality," including sexy bartenders and all they don't know.

Now I feel better. My mind's obsessive attraction to sexy beertenders was actually an intuitive pull toward important emprical data critically vital to furthering a deeper understanding of the Cosmos. ;^)

8/25/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Nobody! I guess my camouflage is working.

8/25/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

We're here. Just laconic today. Lot's to absorb from the past week's posts.

8/25/2007 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Also, Ben has commanded that we be funny. For some of us, at least, that means we're already thinking way too hard :)

8/25/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

Gagdad Bob said..."Hmm. Guess I should have saved this for Monday. Nobody's here anyway. "

Was on my way to the laptop to get here, and my 19yr old was flipping channels & John Wayne's "The Quiet Man" was coming on. Had him stop & we watched it - and to his surprise, enjoyed it "That's not just a movie from a long time ago, it's from a different world".

Sad but true.

wv:sxubpov ... wordverif really is alive

8/25/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

I've been busily ordering the new books that have appeared in the sidebar...

8/25/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Now, I read:
"...philosophy as being concerned with reality as a whole and with wisdom in its entirety..."

And I'm thinking, maybe I'll ponder this just a little before I add my "wisdom" to the conversation.

8/25/2007 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"The Quiet Man" and us be of a different world.

uaztx
wv be gettin' personal now.

8/25/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Van said...

"Philosophy begins where science ends, which is to say, at the edge of the known, where it shades off into the vast unKnown that shines forth with a dark light visible to the eye of the soul."

Or, as with a man standing within a sphere, it is both the ground below his feet, and the heavens above his head, and though adornments and decorations which may obscure it to the eye, they are all still contained within it.

"Which is why man is the pascally whybit who "transcends himself to an infinite degree." This is only possible in d'light of d'vine Absolute."

I love the OC Two Step Lingo.

8/25/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Kenny said...

Well I hate to break up your little tea party here. What the heck are you doing talking about God and carrying on about this and that?

That's what the preacher is paid for and if you want to know about God just go on Sunday and he'll tell you there and the right stuff too.

You're wasting time. Just get back to whatever you should be doing, and especially you ladies aren't you afraid you're husband will find out what you're up to? This is no place for ladies and this is not lady stuff to talk about.

Just be there on Sunday. That's what you need to do.

8/25/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Well, yon 'kenny' sure "breaks me up!" In fact, if he simply will include a funny picture with his comment, he can qualify for Cap'n Ben's Word Up!

'Humor', after all, is today's sub-plot.

8/25/2007 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

What are you doing here on a Saturday? Shouldn't you be at the NASCAR race? Or don't you roll on Shabbot?

8/25/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Kenny

OK, Kenny. Now I think I hear Cartman calling you. (By the way, your writing is a lot less muffled than your speaking voice.)

8/25/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Pursuant to what I said the other day about raccoons calling people idiots:

I never meant that we should refrain from calling idiots idiots.

8/25/2007 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Van said...

Yeah, thanks Kenny, truly words to live by - I wonder how you'll die in this episode?

8/25/2007 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Gosh, Kenny, my husband was extra sweet this morning, and he said if I finished all my chores I could play with the innernet for a little while. Of course, he thinks I'm looking at pron, so I suppose if he knew I was ejumacatin myself he might take away my computer privlijes. You won't tell him, will you?

8/25/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous yogic scientist said...

In todays post R. Godwin writes of an attitude which is detrimental to philosophical inquiry:

"I want to know only what can be made compellingly obvious and is thoroughly demonstrable."

However, this attitude is a good one for the seeker's stance towards God.

Strive to know only what is obvious and demonstrable, and you'll attain. among other things, extreme efficiency . Be a God scientist.

Gather data:

Somatic Data: How does God feel when it contacts my body? Pressure? Taste?

Intellectual Data: What thoughts are mine? Which are implanted by God?

Emotional Data: What feelings are endogenous? Which are exogenously implanted from God?

Material Data: What artifacts drift into my life and in what patterns? What is the intent behind the pattterns?

Social Data: Who am I meeting and how? What is the result? Is there a pattern that can be discerned?

Temporal Data: What is the significance behind the order of events in my life? What is the pattern? What is the result?

By examining these data points the presence and prevelance of God in your life (i.e. scope and severity) can be determined.

In additon to aquiring subtle knowledge, don't forget to thoroughly analyze the rough data that you are already in possession of. Spend more time analyzing.

8/25/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Kenny's flaccid attempt to excite us aside, you are describing the "Big Fishes" in this post, Bob. I mean: "pure intelligence," "reality as a whole," "wisdom in it's entirety" -- (!!!)

This week, MSM headlines were all over what, in fact, was a re-hashed story about Mother Teresa's 50-year long "crisis of faith" -- presumably it was "news" that spiritual people struggle inwardly! Or perhaps a saint is just "always clear," and that's supposedly it; end of story. A smidgen of thought says it's not likely to be that way.

But I rather have the same feeling about Schuon, and presume he was entirely grounded in what you called "a hierarchically structured cosmos" i.e. that that's where he was coming from, in common street lingo. It's hard to detect (for me) a sense of doubt or uncertainty in the quotes of his that you use.

When I read your posts, or (say) his words, I understand what's being stated, much of the time -- but I wouldn't say I'm "coming from" that perspective. It's more like I have to prod myself, re-collect my tools every day -- like they say in sports, I have to "bring something" to the game! You said, "...our spiritual vision is able to perceive the vertical realm," and it is so, when that eye is opened. But the rest of the time some sort of "homeostasis" keeps me glued to ordinary life, going gently down the stream....

So if Mother Teresa can be taken as any sort of example, apparently inner doubt/conflict will continue on for some time to come; by degrees, of course. Meantime, posts like today's bring me back to the vertical -- and then back again; and hopefully, tomorrow and next week as well.

8/25/2007 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Van said...

ys said "By examining these data points the presence and prevelance of God in your life (i.e. scope and severity) can be determined."

No doubt you can then keep a chart as the joggers do, or even devise a strap on guage to check your GodPressure as you zip through your daily datapoints.

Not that there isn't some sense in what you said, but the image of '90/10%' Theistatic ratios seem to pop into mind - Descartes would love it - which should give you pause.

8/25/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Being that he did not bearth or begaial himself and stands in a venerable stream of tradition, he will especially avoid dissing in it and dismissing the illustrious minds that went before, most of whom found the existence of Spirit to be soph-evident."

Well said, Cap'n Bob!

Skully

8/25/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hoarhey said:
"Now I feel better. My mind's obsessive attraction to sexy beertenders was actually an intuitive pull toward important emprical data critically vital to furthering a deeper understanding of the Cosmos. ;^)"

Here hear, Commodore Hoarhey!

Skully

8/25/2007 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Smoov said...
We're here. Just laconic today. Lot's to absorb from the past week's posts.

Or at least, la tonic, eh, Master Smoov?

Skully.

8/25/2007 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie said...
Also, Ben has commanded that we be funny. For some of us, at least, that means we're already thinking way too hard :)

Skully, Missus Julie.
Cap'n Ben is still three sails to the wind, if you catch my drift...

Skully

8/25/2007 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Philosophy begins where science ends, which is to say, at the edge of the known, where it shades off into the vast unKnown that shines forth with a dark light visible to the eye of the soul."

Or the "eye of sole", I always say.
You can learn a lot from fishin'.
Skully

8/25/2007 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Smoov said...
"Pursuant to what I said the other day about raccoons calling people idiots:

I never meant that we should refrain from calling idiots idiots."

Bravo, Master Smoov! Bravo!

8/25/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the realm of Pure Being there is no separate self, no separate body, no separate brain, no separate mind, no separate idea, no separate object, no separate other, no separate universe, no separate cause, no separate effect, and no separate god.

And yet all of that is perfectly coincident with being able to function in the world with profound Love and Compassion.

8/26/2007 04:00:00 AM  
Anonymous i don't get it said...

?

Is that supposed to be profound?

8/26/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Re Smoov's 1:13 Kenny link:
This should'a come with an ISS warning
Beaky & I were fighting over control of a freshly filled mug of hot Joe, and......!!

Umm, is there a particular brand of plastic wrap that I should look for?

8/26/2007 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous balrog said...

You're so smart you're stupid.

8/26/2007 08:28:00 PM  

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