Wholeness, Happiness, Order, and Discrimination
The whole thing reminds me of Eckhart's key principle of the Ground: Alexander speaks of how "the structure we call wholeness is connected with a ground where matter becomes personal..." This is why nature so obviously "speaks" to us, both in terms of feeling and of thought, art and science, beauty and truth. If we take this comm-unication seriously, the implications are endless.
For example, this is why language is even possible, because the person-stuff of the universe is interiorly related and therefore capable of encoding and transmission from one body or region to another. Our ability to see the beauty or apprehend the deep structure of the world represents one cidence of of the same coin-. It is to receive the memO and be in the lOʘp.
For this reason, we now understand how and why scientists are guided by feeling and artists by science. In other words, a scientist wouldn't even know what to investigate in the absence of a feeling that reduces the infinite field of phenomena to something "interesting," something that attracts his attention.
As it so happens, not too long ago I evaluated a former research scientist who had developed a dementia. It was still in its incipient stages, so he was well aware of how it had robbed him of his ability to perceive the deeper significance in things.
It reminds me again of a hybrid SACD, which has a standard CD encoded on the surface and the SACD layer encoded below that. Only an SACD player is able to reach beyond the surface and retrieve the denser, high-def information at the center. My research scientist was like this: his laser could no longer penetrate below the surface.
There is something analogous to this phenomenon in any discipline, from art, to science, to literature and religion, the difference being that there aren't just two levels to reality (i.e., CD and SACD), but an inexhaustible number. There is no end to the depth, but this depth extends in both directions, into the object and into the subject, which, in the end, are complementary aspects of one another.
In other words: we can only see the depth in things to the extent to which we have become deep. As I've said before, depth is a very real feature of the cosmos, not something merely "subjective." In many ways, it's the whole point, isn't it? It's certainly the point of this blog. And of this life, for that matter. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be a cosmic surface dweller. I know I was there, but I can no longer remember what it felt like.
Schall raises the same point in this book I'm reading -- or at least I'm seeing obvious links. For example: "The Catholic [you could also say Raccoon] soul is not a divided soul. What is characteristically Catholic is the mind that pays full attention to the truths of reason and revelation on the basis of the truth that they both belong to a coherent whole."
More: "The 'wholeness' of all things to be known, something that fascinated a Plato, an Aristotle, an Aquinas, a Dante, cannot leave anything out and still claim to be concerned with the full scope of mind.... Philosophy is the quest for knowledge of the whole, a quest that, in principle, cannot omit any claim to the truth of things and still claim to be open to all things."
Thus, any form of bonehead atheism or vulgar scientism is a philosophical non-starter, because each has closed itself to the living ground (both "outside" and "inside").
Dennis Prager makes a similar point in his Still the Best Hope, which should be required reading for all human beings struggling to cure themselves of the liberal plague. He writes of how
"It is difficult to overstate the depth of the differences between the Judeo-Christian view of the world and that of its opponents on the Left. In addition to such basic issues as objective versus subjective morality, it involves the question of whether there is order to the world" (emphasis mine, and bear in mind that Alexander's quadrilogy is called The Nature of Order).
Now, as Alexander explains, order is intrinsically related to life, to wholeness, to depth, and to happiness (I would prefer a slightly more spiritually inflected term such as ananda-bliss, beatitude, or slack). And as Prager points out, "Basic to the biblical worldview is the proposition that God made order out of chaos -- order expressed largely through separation and distinction."
Indeed, what is order but distinction? And what is thinking but discrimination and synthesis? And what is chaos but indiscriminate blending?
Now, we all know that the religious are happier than the irreligious, conservatives happier than liberals. Might this have something to do with the unregenerate muddleheadedness of the latter?
Prager discusses the most obvious distinctions that the left denies, thereby engendering chaos and fueling unhappiness, such as good and evil, God and man, man and woman, holy and profane, human and animal, and great and poor art.
Denying these distinctions has devastating material, psychological, and spiritual consequences for both the individual and the society. At the very least, it creates unhappy people, and unhappy people are responsible for most of the world's problems. Happy people don't become activists, utopians, and ideologues. But to deny the nature of human order is to defeat the order of human nature. Which is the quintessence of soph-defeating beehivior.
Thus, "Almost all disorders of private or public life somehow begin in the souls of an educated elite..." And these elites are shielded from the devastating consequences of their noxious ideas by such things as tenure, jerrymandering, and wealth (the most wealthy counties in the country are the most liberal).
"A wise man," writes Schall, "knows how to find the order in things."
Bottom line: Everything that exists is an orderly circle that flows from and returns to the ground, Alpha to Omega. And some circles are deeper and more expansive than others. A stone is a smaller circle than a plant.
Likewise, your life is a circle, the difference being that this is the only circle that isn't simply "given." Yours needn't be a little jerk circle. Rather, it has some free play, some slack. How wide will you make it? And how deep is the order? Or how depthless, rather?
For the name of this depthlessness is God.