For Benedict, there have been three stages, or waves, in the modern project of "dehellenization." Each wave represents the antithesis of a particular truth.
For example, in Aquinas' understanding, "man is not properly human but superhuman" -- which parallels Schuon's observation that man is "naturally supernatural."
To express it orthoparadoxically, man either transcends himself or sinks beneath himself. To remain a mere (biological) man is to fail to become (a spiritually realized) one. Man is a means to an end he doesn't create, but rather, discovers. Which is sort of the *whole point* of existence.
In reality this is just an empirical observation, because it isn't even possible to talk about man -- or any other universal, for that matter -- without touching the transcendent world.
Man has a proper end, which is the same as saying he is created. Conversely, if he isn't created, then there can be no purpose whatsoever to existence, and the left is correct: everything is just an absurd contingency (except the left, which magically exempts itself from its own absurdity).
Thus, a key principle of the modern project is "an adamant refusal on the part of man... to acknowledge anything that [isn't] exclusively human."
But nothing can be explained without reference to something outside or beyond it, which means that the first principle of the left is man's absolute stupidity. (Ah. That explains a lot.)
For this reason it is but a single step from relativism to barbarism, or from low information to Democrat, or from ignorance to tenure.
Likewise, for Aristotle it was a truism that man does not create man to be what he is. Rather, we are as we find ourselves: we have a nature, and we did not confer this nature upon ourselves.
Here again, the left promulgates the contradictory thesis, which ends in the various pneumapathologies of existentialism, which elevate existence over essence.
For those of you living in Rio Linda, this means that a boy can be a girl, a woman can be a radical feminist, my aunt can be a trolley car, and a man can marry a man. If there is no nature, nor is there any order.
In the March 11 National Review there's an article by Ramesh Ponnuru on the previous two Popes, JPII and BXVI. In it he notes that both men
"asserted that reason is capable of apprehending not only instrumental truths (how to achieve given ends) but also sapiential truths (what our ends should be). They insisted on both the reasonableness of faith and the need for faith in reason."
Let's look at this notion. Modernity has no issue with the idea that reason may apprehend instrumental truths and find out how things "work."
For example, a biologist can dissect a body to try to figure out how life works. But no biologist -- or no one else, for that matter -- can tell you why you are alive, any more than taking apart a watch will disclose the nature of time.
But is it really possible for a human being to sever the Is from the Ought in this abstract manner? For example, every proper scientist knows he oughtta publish the truth, and not just make up some shite for an end that is less than truth, e.g., wealth, or fame, or an academy award. But enough about climate science.
Thus, it's really contradictory to insist that man can know only instrumental but not sapiential truths, for the insistence that science should seek truth is itself sapiential -- and therefore transnatural -- to the core. Way it is. And more importantly, way it ought to be.
But once means are separated from ends, Is from Ought, man is exiled from reality. He no longer has "access to the whole."
This is an interesting variation on our fallenness, which leaves us wounded but not dead. However, the modern project completes the work of the Fall, and renders the wound absolutely fatal.
You might say that a reduction of the world to the categories disclosed by the scientific method -- i.e., scientism -- "closes off the very being that is worth reasoning about."
As a result, we know everything about nothing but nothing about everything. Or as Petey says, ignorance of the Absolute seals man's absolute ignorance.
However, on the positive side -- for the left, anyway -- this is an excellent way to create passive slaves.
Running late -- to be continued.