Irrational Rationalism, Untrue Truth, and Illiberal Liberty
Once again I am reminded that Schuon is not only perhaps the greatest religious thinker of the 20th century, but -- and for that very reason -- the greatest humanist. And since his stance embodies the essence of real humanism, it stands to reason that those who explicitly or implicitly oppose it are trying to undermine and eliminate our very humanness. It is again confusing, because some of the worst offenders in this regard are called "humanists" (cf. Dr. Sanity's post on the brave New Enlightenment).
Let's begin with a discussion of the limits of reason. If one fails to understand that reason is grounded in something that transcends reason, one renders oneself intellectually blind and spiritually deaf, or an autodeceiver. As Schuon explains, there are two conditions that always condition the effectiveness of our reasoning, one of which is internal, the other external.
The internal factor is "the acuity and profundity of the intelligence" involved. This factor obviously transcends reason, as it varies dramatically in the human mom & population. Shallow and deep thinkers are equally capable of reasoning. For example, in the hands of a shallow intellect such as Charles the Queeg, reason simply confirms its own shallowness, and searches no further. Reason encircles itself and closes up shop, just waiting for the dirt to fall or fire to consume.
But intelligence is not simply a linear phenomenon, as the one-dimensional measurement of IQ would imply. Rather, intelligence "goes beyond the indirect processes of reason in calling upon pure intellection." A mere rationalist is simply someone who is, for whatever reason, unable to reason adequately in realms that transcend the material.
The second factor that interferes with intelligence is again external. It has to do with "the value or extent of the available information." It is more than just a case of "garbage in, garbage out," because the rationalist systematically excludes whole dimensions of reality in trying to describe reality, most notably, revelation in both its principle modes, i.e., God's vertical messages to the human subject, and the human subject as such.
As we have mentioned many times, the human subject is without question the most astonishing fact of the cosmos, but rationalism would reduce the subject to just one of the items in its vast bag of tricks, i.e., logic. However, anyone but a rationalist knows that logic cannot furnish its own materials on which to operate.
It is a "sign of the times" -- i.e., the Age of Stupidity -- that it is even necessary to point out that not every problem can be solved by means of logic alone. Again, to even attempt to do this is both inhuman and anti-human.
It reminds me of CDs, which have to chop off the top and bottom of the musical signal in order to fit it onto the disc. Yes, it provides a facsimile of the music, but something indefinable is lost in translation, most especially the subtleties of the human voice. This post at American Digest inspired me to appreciate my vinyl more than I do, and it's just undeniable. Interestingly, if you "try" to hear the difference, you may not notice. Rather, you have to just passively listen, and notice the different effect on one's being. It's somewhat like the difference between film and video, but more subtle, since the ears are more subtle than the eyes. But religion is similar, in that it subtly discloses other worlds that will be inaccessible to the substitious materialist.
Anyway, the bottom line is that "all thoroughgoing rationalism is false by definition." Think of the implications of this: truth and falsehood lie outside the realm of mere (small-r) reason, a realm that we can know -- and only know -- a priori. If this hasn't yet "clicked" for you, it will as we proceed. But it is a critical point to bear in mind, especially when it comes to the proofs of God, which can only "indicate" in the manner of a great work of art-- and even then only to a person of good will and sufficient intelligence who actually wishes to understand them.
Another critical point: when intellection is rejected, it doesn't just disappear, any more than an unconscious conflict disappears by denying it. Rather, it is simply replaced by all kinds of crazy things, from Marxism, to metaphysical Darwinism, to Scientology, you name it.
What really happens is that the individual severs himself from the objective world disclosed by pure intellection, and plunges himself into subjectivism. If you are following me, this is the source of the left's perverse forms of "freedom." Really, it is the transgressive freedom to be stupid, evil, or insane, so we really need a different word to describe it. Perhaps "lawlessness." But lawlessness is simply the law of the jungle.
Regarding the profundity of intelligence alluded to above; again, we are not talking about a two-dimensional line that can plot different degrees of smarts. Rather, there are two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and hyperdimensional intellects. Furthermore, the lower dimensional intellect cannot know of the higher dimension except through its products, which will initially appear as either magic or foolishness. But if it can truly grasp the products of the higher dimension, it can begin to assimilate and embody it. This is my [hyperdimensional] body, etc.
This is elementary. One of the joys of watching my son grow and develop is witnessing his slow (actually freakishly rapid) conquest of more subtle dimensions of humanness. It never ceases to amaze. It's quite obvious that he is not simply becoming more intelligent or logical in some linear way. Rather, it's much more a case of whole new spaces opening up to him.
Of course, these spaces need to be mirrored by the environment, or they will simply close up again. The law of pneuma-neurology is "use it or lose it." Many if not virtually all atheists have simply abandoned the brain circuits they need in order to know God. Like any skill, from writing to archery, it requires practice. Only Kim Jong Il and Barack Obama can produce a literary classic with no prior experience at writing.
You are now in the position to understand the ironic fact that pure rationalism does not disclose the objective world. Rather, it eventually "gives way to individualism [the bad kind] and arbitrariness insofar as it is divorced from the intellect." The One Truth is thereby replaced with a multitude of kooky so-called truths. Again, the only way one could believe the fairy tale of metaphysical Darwinism is to live in an eccentric world of pure subjectivity detached from the Real, but reinforced by other spiritual retards.
And it is ec-centric, or "outside the circle," the circle whose center is everywhere because the intellect is. Yes, human beings are without question the center of the cosmos regarded vertically, not horizontally (think of the point at the top of a cone, without which there could be no cone). Horizontally, it is correct to say that there is no center, only periphery, and therefore no truth or intellect. But that just proves the intrinsic stupidity of horizontal intelligence divorced from its vertical source and ground.
Intelligence as such is intrinsically unlimited, and therefore not reducible to the horizontal. Or, if it is limited, who limited it? Who put up the wall, if not intelligence? But if intelligence can wall itself in, it can also transcend the walls it imposes upon itself.
"Hence" -- logically! -- "one of two things: either the intelligence by definition includes a principle of illimitability or liberty, whatever the degree of its actualization, in which case there is no need to attribute limits to it." Or, intelligence includes "a principle of limitation or constraint, in which case it no longer includes any certainty and can function no differently from the intelligence of animals..." (Schuon).
Which is why only the religious man can be free and why the radical humanist is a slave or worse, i.e., a slave trader or slaveholder.