Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trapped by Clarity, Liberated by Person-ality

Once again insophicient time for a fully half-baked post. Since it is Mrs. G's birthday, I magnanimously volunteered to transport the Boy to school.

Certain ideas are only clear when formulated, but others are only clear when alluded to. --Aphorisms of Don Colacho

In The Science Before Science, Rizzi writes of how "The temptation to sacrifice reality for clarity has trapped many an otherwise strong and competent thinker."

In fact, it seems to trap most any thinker, so long as he is reduced to swimming in his own ideas. In the Christian tradition our natural reason is "healed," or, if you prefer, prolonged, by transnatural grace, which is really the only way for reason to exit its own tautology -- to escape the clutches of Gödel and to turn it from a closed circle to an open spiral.

We could also say that we are unknowculated against the Big Bad Idea in light of the fact that the first and last metacosmic fact is Person, not any abstract idea. Certainly no mere idea can save us, no matter how stupid.

Only loyalty to a person frees us from all self-complacency. --Don Colacho

As we have said before (paraphrasing someone), the answer can be the disease that kills curiosity; or, it can confer a kind of quickndirty knowledge that actually prevents -- or pretends at -- understanding.

Thus, Rizzi writes that "a clarity that appears too soon or is too broad and facile is likely to be a counterfeit achieved by ignoring the full depth and breadth of the reality under consideration."

Human beings are born with an epistemophilic instinct: a vertically orienting love of truth, or an innate desire to understand What the Hell is Going On. The other day I was surprised and belighted to run into the following quote by Chesterton at Happy Acres:

"The primary things in the universe, before all letters and all language, are a note of exclamation and a note of interrogation."

If I understand him rightly, he is talking about ! and ?. In the book I combined them into (?!), AKA the sacred WTF. Chesterton seems to pathologize the (?), linking it to serpentine skepticism and to our primordial calamity: "nor has there been any other battle since the beginning of the world."

But what if we regard them as complementary rather than oppositional? In that case they will work together like anabolism and catabolism, or analysis and synthesis, i.e., breaking down and putting back together; or, perhaps the joyous (!) of the right cerebral hemisphere complemented by the more detached (?) of the left.

One could also say that the science before science is a kind of pure (!), i.e., the overwhelming facticity and utterly surprising intelligibility of being: there is reality, always staring us in the face. Unless our senses are like totally lying to us, in which case you are confused or deranged or tenured (but I repeat myself).

This is of course where science begins, and must begin: with our experience of the objects of sensation. But then comes the (?) with which we investigate those objects of experience.

Now, either there is a rational foundation of our intellectual life, or there isn't. And regardless of what any postmodern (or post-Aquinas, really) philosopher pretends to believe, he still begins in the pre-rational world of (!), only departing from it in thought. "Thus," writes Rizzi, such pneumapaths "oscillate between unconscious acceptance and a conscious rejection."

This is the primordial incoherence at the heart of modern incoherence. "Such a rejection leaves the root of one's thinking ungrounded, hanging in the air, where it is free to blow in the wind of one's will" (ibid.).

Or, one could say that the Primordial Rejection of O is founded on a conversion of will to willfulness, or from freedom to compulsion. The divine gift of freedom is hijacked, so to speak, by motives having nothing to do with truth.

Therefore, as anyone who hasn't attended graduate school already knows, "to say that there is 'no such thing as truth' is to say words without meaning" (ibid.).

However, when we affirm the truth of Truth, we are by no means talking about anything the human mind could ever contain, thank God! You might say that if we could know it, it wouldn't be Truth. Rather, it always contains us.

You could say it is a kind of "higher dimensional" Truth, or, better, the eternal sponsor of all truth. I would go so far as to say that the intellect is woven from truth, or that truth is its substance. Therefore, the love of truth is really like soul calling out to soul and actually getting a response -- which always provokes that (!)

There are certain types of ignorance that enrich that enrich the mind and certain types of knowledge that impoverish it. --Aphorisms of Don Colacho

11 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

Or, one could say that the Primordial Rejection of O is founded on a conversion of will to willfulness, or from freedom to compulsion. The divine gift of freedom is hijacked, so to speak, by motives having nothing to do with truth.

Nicely said. And also, reason needs to be in the mix. Many dharma bums have some connection to O, and still are completely clueless to a coherent idea.

9/18/2014 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Therefore, the love of truth is really like soul calling out to soul and actually getting a response -- which always provokes that (!)

I like this analogy. It makes me think of someone sending out a message into space, and getting a response. Or of a pingback on a sonar screen.

Happy Birthday to Mrs. G!

9/18/2014 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Happy Birthday!

9/18/2014 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Now, either there is a rational foundation of our intellectual life, or there isn't.

This is the point that always puts the materialist closest to the edge of the abyss. There's no way around it. Their guardrail is a form of pragmatism painted over with some jargon they picked up from Wittgenstein or some body.

9/18/2014 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes!

I have been made aware of the fact that when Bob drives the Boy to school, it sets back the progress of our spiritual evolution quite a bit. I just want to say that I do appreciate the sacrifice! And the extra beauty sleep.

Tristan made me a poster and drew a picture of me for my birthday. It's so touching to see how his spirit is being formed, or just how naturally kids incorporate the spiritual into their everyday life. But the picture says "God bless you" as the caption. And one of the 10 things he says he loves about me is that I tuck him in say prayers for him at night.

To quote my mom, I'm kvelling...such nacchus :)
Mrs. G

9/18/2014 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Happy Birthday, Mrs. G!

9/18/2014 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Thus, Rizzi writes that "a clarity that appears too soon or is too broad and facile is likely to be a counterfeit achieved by ignoring the full depth and breadth of the reality under consideration.""

And pregnant with a sophistic wealth of equivocations, able to mislead, misstep, and mistake its believers and those befuddled by them, ever deeper and deeper into the labyrinth.

But as they believe that what they want to believe, can be presented as believable... they believe they're making progress.

And afterall, with equivocation seen as a technique, rather than an error, measuring distance while ignoring direction, it's a cinch to believe that moving deeper and darker = 'Progress!' (regress notwithstanding).

Ugh. Clear as mud.

9/18/2014 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"But what if we regard them as complementary rather than oppositional? In that case they will work together like anabolism and catabolism, or analysis and synthesis, i.e., breaking down and putting back together; or, perhaps the joyous (!) of the right cerebral hemisphere complemented by the more detached (?) of the left."

With each step forward, two more taken deeper within. Hah!, wo...

9/18/2014 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Happy Birthday Mrs. G! Treasure those drawings!

9/18/2014 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Happy Birthday, Leslie!

9/18/2014 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Thus, Rizzi writes that "a clarity that appears too soon or is too broad and facile is likely to be a counterfeit achieved by ignoring the full depth and breadth of the reality under consideration.""

Aye, clarity must be earned and experienced starting with revelation.
There ain't no shortcuts.

9/18/2014 07:41:00 PM  

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