Useless Truth and Useful Idiots
If Pieper is correct -- which he is -- then when we speak of "truth," we must add the qualifier of, since different things -- or diverse levels of reality -- are known (and reveal, or give of themselves) in different ways. Matter and mind, for example, reveal themselves in very different ways. In fact, one cannot know the mind of another, unless the other cooperates -- truthfully! -- in revealing himself (and this applies quintessentially to self-revelations of O). To study O as if it were a physical object -- as materialists are condemned to do -- is to render oneself stupid.
A good working definition of reality is something that doesn't go away when we aren't thinking about it. Thus, material objects are obviously real, in that they are antecedent to our knowledge of them. Therefore, to know the truth of a material object involves aligning our minds with its properties, such as weight, mass, color, etc.
But again, the truth of matter is very different from the truth of man, much less the truth of O. Or, you might say that matter speaks one way, while consciousness speaks another. And O speaks yet another way -- although O is also the very basis of all the otherwise inexplicable "speaking" and "hearing" that goes on in this very talkative cosmos.
The idea that matter inheres in its own truth, and that it speaks this truth to human minds is weird enough. Weirder still is that it speaks not only quantitatively -- i.e., mathematically -- but qualitatively, something which known to every poet, even good ones. For example, rivers, mountains, oceans, wind, trees, seasons, storms -- in fact, nature in general -- all of these material things whisper their secrets -- their truth -- to the human soul (which is one way a fellow knows he's got one).
As we have discussed before, the radical environmental movement represents what you might call a godless effort to preserve this aspect of divine reality -- a sort of hollow remurmuring of the fullness of God's self-revelation. The environmentalist loves this divine truth -- or one part of it -- but not the source of this truth, which is to say, principial reality. Thus, he often slides into the barbarism of pantheism, or at least becomes the functional equivalent thereof. (And it should go without saying that every normal person loves virgin nature without having to descend into neo-paganism.)
Similarly, if we attempt to understand man in the same way we understand matter, we will simply generate confusion and paradox. And if we attempt to build a philosophy and a way of life around this misunderstanding, we will create a human nightmare, for we will have created a misanthropic world that is quite literally unfit for human habitation. This anti-human trend affects us in a thousand little ways, so we must constantly be on guard against it. We are truly being overrun by horizontal barbarians, e.g., the tenured flatlanders who suffocate the souls of children with their own ignorance.
This is reason #847 that leftism is a waking nightmare, for not only does it elevate matter to the ultimate, but it necessarily elevates our most primitive way of knowing the world to the highest wisdom, which is the denial of wisdom, precisely. This would be reason enough to reject the radical atheists such as Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins, since in rejecting reality, they not only reject God, but declare war on man as such. Theirs is truly a reactionary misosophy aimed at the most base and common demonimatter.
This is why Aristotle noted that while all other disciplines are more necessary than philosophy, none is more important. To which I would add, "except theology." That is, the higher the discipline, the less necessary for mere physical survival (at least in the short term), but the more significant. At the same time, the higher the reality -- i.e., the more Real -- the less important the particular thinker, since it is closer the the one truth.
Again, truth is a secondary phenomenon, contingent upon the ultimate Real. Since religion is the science of this ultimate real, we must ultimately eliminate ourselves, so to speak, if we would fully comprehend it (or rather, it us). And this is why religion involves both revelation and faith, for revelation is the manifestation of the ultimate real in terms the average human can understand, while the "full emptiness" or "empty fullness" of faith is the anticipatory mode of knowing it.
And of course, this is where our divine Slack comes into play, for if it is true that philosophy must serve no merely pragmatic purpose in order to remain philosophy, then theology must be completely and utterly useless. In other words, theology can never serve anything other than Reality -- and certainly not the insidious designs of some grasping bipedal hominidiot. It cannot be made to serve manmade, "practical" ends. Rather, we were made to serve it. And serving it is the sufficient reason for our Slack, which is otherwise simply a "waste of time." The difference between "doing nothing" and "non-doodling" is pretty much infinite. Gosh!
Slack is that which makes us free insofar as we are engaged in an activity that serves no purpose outside of itself, the ultimate case being worship of God, or conformity with the Real, if you prefer. In losing our freedom, we regain it. Or, in dying, we are reborn. However you wish to put it. But it is an actively passive state, which is why it is more analogous to hearing (which is feminine) than to seeing (which is active and masculine):
"Leisure amounts to that precise way of being silent which is a prerequisite for listening in order to hear.... Leisure implies an attitude of total receptivity toward, and willing immersion in, reality; an openness of the soul, through which alone may come about those great and blessed insights that no amount of 'mental labor' can ever achieve" (Pieper).
When we talk about the true meaning of "separation of church and state" -- one of the favorite phrases used by people who hate Reality -- the deeper meaning is the preservation of our divine Slack, which is the purpose of the state, not vice versa. Only a fool or a knave believes that the state is the source of cosmic slack.
As Pieper writes, this free and slackful space is exactly "what is meant by the ancient term scholé, which designates 'school' and 'leisure' at the same time. It means a refuge where discussion takes place, in total independence -- that is, without the interference of practical goals."
Rather, it is a "zone of truth" that is "set aside in the midst of society, a hedged-in space to house the autonomous engagement with reality, in which people can inquire into, discuss, and assert the truth of things without let or hindrance; a domain expressly shielded from all conceivable attempts to use it as a means to achieve certain ends." In short, it is a place to be human, and a completely useless one to boot.
Not only must this slackademic space be defended and preserved from without, but also from those threats that arise from within "as an infection of intellectual life itself." We know some of these nasty infections by the names "political correctness," "social jusdtice," "diversity," "tolerance," "multiculturalism," "critical theory," etc.
Thus -- at risk of being a champion of the bobvious -- the problem with our schools is that they are no longer schools (scholé), which is to say, pointless and disinterested centers of leisurely slack serving no merely practical end. Instead, they are centers of indoctrination that reduce human beings to serving the ends of leftist ideology. This leftist ideology is also the essence of selfishness, in that it is the polar opposite of the selflessness required to know higher truth. Obammunism is just the same old leftist whining in a new battle.