Intellectual Sainthood and Intrinsic Metaphysical Heresy
Furthermore, we see how a highly intellectual pope such as John Paul II can be dismissed by self-styled secular intellectuals who are absolutely clueless as to their ignorance of the vertical realm that is the sufficient reason of human intelligence to begin with (anything less is simply not proportionate to the majesty and reach of the human intellect). Schall quotes Newman, who wrote of how "the multitude of men, whether by their own fault or not, are wrong in the greatest matters of religion."
I would respectfully tweak Newman's observation to say that the multitude of intellectuals (and all secular intellectuals) are not even wrong about religion, since they are talking about something else, something of their own imagination. In other words, since they deny the very possibility of the vertical up front, when they talk "about" it, they are doing precisely that: talking about it, not within it. It makes no sense to give opinions about that which one professes to have no reality.
In this regard, Schall quotes the historian Regine Pernoud, who quipped that the hopelessly tenured man is "physically incapable of seeing what is not in conformity with the notions his brain exudes." It reminds me of the old and wise crack to the effect that you cannot expect someone to know something when his whole livelihood depends upon not knowing it. A kind of blindness results, "by which we do not see what is in fact there" (Schall).
Elsewhere Schall quotes JP2, who said that the purpose of education is "to give birth to souls for the sake of knowledge and wisdom, to shape minds and hearts," something that cannot be achieved except "through generous service to truth -- revealing it and passing it on to others" (emphasis mine). In other words, the object and purpose of the intellect is truth, even as the object and purpose of truth is birth and growth of the soul through the intellect.
As we have mentioned before, truth and intellect are of the same substance, which is why the intellect may know the truth. Or, one might say that truth is intellect exteriorized, while intellect is truth interiorized. The critical point is that we make neither truth nor intellect, but expand the latter by discovering and assimilating the former.
Anyway, I was struck by that term, "intellectual saint," because now I have a name for something of which I was very much aware, but didn't know what to call. For instance, I would say that Schuon is a clear example of an intellectual saint, someone who spent his entire life in total devotion to Truth, and to generously passing it along to others.
Obviously there are also moral saints, people who devote their lives to goodness. One could also say that there are artistic saints, for example, a Bach, who devoted his life to explicating the Divine Beauty, or the Sound of Heaven.
I remember Schuon saying something to the effect that we could judge the efficacy of a religion by its capacity to produce genuine saints. But again, we typically think of moral saints, and exclude intellectual saints such as Aquinas and Eckhart, or artistic saints such as Michelangelo or Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Would it be possible for one man to combine all three forms of sainthood? Off hand, I can't think of anyone. I suppose some might argue for Sri Aurobindo, depending upon how one feels about the aesthetic (as opposed to spiritual) value of his poetry. Would Dante qualify? I don't know enough about him.
At any rate, from the idea of intellectual sainthood, I immediately jumped to the idea of intellectual heresy. I realized that there are a number of intrinsic intellectual heresies, meaning that they are universal and that they apply to any faith or discipline, religious or secular, for to hold one of these heresies is to rebel against reality (and God), and to therefore reject the truth and damage the soul -- not just one's own soul, but more seriously, the souls of others. If one imparts a lie to another vulnerable mind, the lie doesn't just end there -- any more than the evil deed ends with having committed it.
Rather, the deed and the lie spread out in time and in space, even unto future generations -- just as truth and virtue have endless consequences beyond the moment. This is serious business. Think of the intellectual virtue of America's founders! With luck, their insights will continue to affect the world forever, until the end of history -- or until history finally results in the assimilation these self-evident truths everywhere.
Conversely, we pray that Marx's demonic ideas will eventually stop their metastatic advance through the world, destroying vulnerable souls and murdering bodies in their wake. If there are intellectual saints, then there are also intellectual demons such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn, who devote their public lives to infecting others with their pernicious lies, damaging countless souls along the way.
So anyway, a list of intellectual heresies came to me in a flash. In no particular order, they would include denial of the Absolute, and with it, the promulgation of relativism (moral, intellectual, aesthetic and cultural); equality as the highest political value (which generates chaos, disorder, and injustice); failure to discern the intrinsic relationship between truth and freedom; ignorance of Hayek's "knowledge problem" in economics (see here for how it plays out in time); ignorance of Gödel's theorems; nominalism (i.e., that reality -- especially transcendent reality -- is just words; materialism (i.e., denial of the vertical); humanism (replacing God with man); determinism (denial of free will); and denial of the boundary between man and animal.
One of the first things you will notice is the materialist/relativist/historicist/socialist/deconstructionist/metaphysical Darwinist/secular humanist leftist comes out as the ultimate intellectual heretic, in that he somehow manages to combine all of the above. That's quite an accomplicement to evil.
Well, I'm out of time. I may continue this line of thought tomorrow, if I feel like it. In the meantime, I'll leave it to you folks to flesh this out.