Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Love of Science and the Science of Love

Next up in Schindler, The Sanctity of the Intellectual Life. Yes, sanctity, without which the intellectual life is not even worthless, but rather, perhaps the most harmful force in all of creation.

Yeah, you heard me, all of creation. For if human beings are the most precious things in all of creation -- which they are -- then nothing has destroyed more of us (not just physically, but mentally and spiritually) than intellectuals and the lies they propagate. So we're being quite literal here, not at all polemical.

A very quick google search leads me to this site called Necrometrics, estimating that in the 20th century, 203 million were killed as a result of war, genocide, and man-caused famine, 87 million alone from communism. By way of comparison, he calculates 8.5 million other murders worldwide in the same period.

And "3.5 million people were killed in 20th Century disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and volcanos," but even there, ideology has a lot to due with it, because a 7.0 earthquake in California may kill a handful, whereas thousands will die if it occurs in some craphole like Iran. It's the same with diseases. Relatively few people in first world countries die in epidemics, unless liberals get their way and everyone stops vaccinating their children.

It also says that exactly 34,075 people were killed by tigers in India between 1875 and 1912, but c'mon. I would file that under the general heading of Failure to Handle Your Bidness. Some things are just basic, like clearing out the snakes, bears, and malaria-bearing mosquitoes. (By the way, thanks again to liberal intellectuals, millions have died in Africa as a result of the ban on DDT.)

So, ideas have consequences, often deadly. At present, the most evil force in the world -- Islamism -- is an intellectual movement.

But let's get back to the main topic at hand, the sanctity of the intellect. What is it? Very simply, it is truth -- or, more precisely, reverence for truth. To paraphrase Schuon, nothing is more privileged than truth. If man is composed of intellect, sentiment, and will, then it is because we are proportioned to, and converge upon, truth, beauty, and goodness, respectively.

Just as "good" is what we are to do, truth is what we are to know, and beauty what we are to create. Each has its own special penumbra of sanctity. Each is loved for its own sake, not for any utilitarian reason. Like family and friendship, each is its own sufficient reason.

"Sanctity should provide the inner form of the intellectual life, in a way that affects both the methods and the content of the modern academic curriculum" (Schindler).

Just waiting for the laughter to die down.

Here is how Schuon defines sanctity: "it is the intuition of the spiritual nature of things; profound intuition which determines the entire soul, hence the entire being of man."

Now, truth is nothing if not spiritual. How's that? Because it is obviously immaterial, immateriality being one of the defining characteristics of Spirit. When I so much as see a tree as a tree, it is because -- recall the Helen Keller example last week -- the mind is able to perceive the abstract form in the particular substance. If we couldn't do this, we would be animals, precisely. Or, man is the animal with a rational soul, as Aristotle quipped. (But we are more than this as well.)

More Good Stuff from Schuon: "Metaphysical truth is in the first place discernment between the Real and the unreal or the less real." This implies that truth is hierarchically ordered from top to bottom (for it could never be vice versa, as per scientism, which literally elevates appearances to truth).

Truth is not what we make but what we discover. But this does not imply that truth is passive. To the contrary -- especially in the Christian view -- truth "offers itself" as a gift, so to speak, to the intellect. Reality is generous, self-giving, open -- but only to the mind that is similarly generous, self-giving, and open. As applied to man, these three go to the sanctity of the intellect.

A sanctified intellect is humble, open to the gift of truth, and even self-sacrificial, for clearly, in order to know any truth, we must "sacrifice" the interests and preferences of the ego.

Properly understood, science is most definitely a spiritual practice, something which virtually all scientists once knew. It clearly requires a kind of kenosis, or self-emptying in order to be properly filled by truth.

What scientism forgets is that it is rooted in this metaphysic of love. For what else do you call this mutual self-offering of truth and intellect? You could say, as Schindler does, that "all creation is dynamically ordered from and toward the love revealed by God in Jesus Christ." Yes, this is what you call real Christian science. Or just say science.

You know, the reason why the intellectual life is so rewarding is because it is this continuous gift of truth to intellect, right? It is a love affair. How can this be, if it is not built into the nature of things?

Oops. Just got called into work early. Let's abruptly conclude with this:

"[I]n Jesus Christ, God has assumed human nature, and, indeed, through human nature, in some sense all of nature. Nature from the beginning finds its integrity and freedom in obedience: in a relation of service to the Father, and thus in love.... Thus every created being in its depths exhibits an orientation and movement from God, and in this way... 'images' God" (Schindler).

31 Comments:

Blogger William Wildblood said...

“sanctity, without which the intellectual life is not even worthless, but rather, perhaps the most harmful force in all of creation.’

It sounds melodramatic but you’re right. Intellectuals who deny God, or the reality of the sacred, are doing the devil’s work. Let’s hope for their sake that they’re unaware of what they’re doing but, still, they wouldn’t be doing it at all unless there was a deep-seated rebellion against God in their egos. Often covered up and presented as intellectual honesty (of all things!).

4/16/2015 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Properly understood, science is most definitely a spiritual practice, something which virtually all scientists once knew. It clearly requires a kind of kenosis, or self-emptying in order to be properly filled by truth.

Magister had a good point yesterday about "sanctified intelligence." One might hope that such is still the foundation at Catholic and Christian universities, but there are many stories these days which make me doubt. On the one hand, the faculty still tend to lean left, and on the other some schools are being made to suffer when they strive to uphold Christian principles.

I was reading another article this morning suggesting that Christians are being pushed out of the military these days, as well.

4/16/2015 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Shifting gears, have you started the Sophia-Maria book yet, Bob? Looks interesting...

4/16/2015 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No, hasn't yet arrived.

4/16/2015 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

" But let's get back to the main topic at hand, the sanctity of the intellect. What is it? Very simply, it is truth -- or, more precisely, reverence for truth. To paraphrase Schuon, nothing is more privileged than truth. If man is composed of intellect, sentiment, and will, then it is because we are proportioned to, and converge upon, truth, beauty, and goodness, respectively."

Ahhh. Yep. Not much to add to that, I mean without orienting your intellect around the sanctity of, and for, Truth, what would you have left? Other than the modern pro-regressive Left, I mean.

4/16/2015 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Just looking through the preview, the Sophia book apparently drew great inspiration from MotT and our Unknown Friend. Intriguing...

4/16/2015 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Schindler goes on the qualify his thought in that last quotation, namely that the imaging of God in the universe "is proportionate to the different 'stages' or kinds of created being." At the top are humans, but all of nature is potentially imagistic. So while the grace-filled saints are clearly imagistic, graceless things, say, the Obamas, have not yet realized that call and may even obscure nature's own orientation toward service to God "by weighting it in a counter direction."

4/16/2015 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Hi Julie, (reading your post above) that wasn't my point, but Schindler's. His critique of Fr. Ted's liberal Catholic university is devastating.

4/16/2015 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

A slightly OT thought occurred to me, having to do with the recent discussions of putting Descartes before the horse: what did Eve do? I don't mean eating the fruit, or getting Adam to have a nibble too, I mean before that.

What was it that Eve did first?

Can't we say that her knowledge about the nature of the fruit, having gotten it directly from God himself, was as metaphysically given and certain as any knowledge ever gets? Can't we say with some assurance, that she had no basis to question is validity?

And what did the serpent do? Did he offer facts and reasons to question the nature of that truth? Encourage Eve to question God about it?

Nope. He got her to imagine it as being something other than it was, something - with no basis for thinking so - desirable. He got her to Doubt a Truth, with no reason to do so - arbitrarily - to think of it as if it could be and so would be, remade in her own image, as she'd prefer it to be. The serpent got her to, in Descartes' words, to "conceive it clearly and distinctly" as being so, iow he got he to 'Think so, therefore it was'.

And, without a doubt, we've been falling for it ever since.

4/16/2015 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Van... whoa! That's the First Commandment right there.

4/16/2015 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Just as "good" is what we are to do, truth is what we are to know, and beauty what we are to create. Each has its own special penumbra of sanctity. Each is loved for its own sake, not for any utilitarian reason. Like family and friendship, each is its own sufficient reason."

Well said, sensei Bob.
Not only is each loved for its own sake, we are loved by truth, goodness n' beauty as well.
It's righteous to love truth, goodness n' beauty.

4/17/2015 04:03:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"A sanctified intellect is humble, open to the gift of truth, and even self-sacrificial, for clearly, in order to know any truth, we must "sacrifice" the interests and preferences of the ego."

Amen.
Not to be confused with sanktified or stanktified which requires the interests and preferences of the ego.

4/17/2015 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I had no idea it had come to this: thanks to AGW "science," some power plants are burning wood instead of coal - wood that often must be shipped in from elsewhere, for instance the 70,000 tons per day that are harvested in the US and shipped 3000 miles across the ocean to be burned in British power plants. Because wood is "carbon neutral."

God help us. Modern science holds as much promise as early Soviet farming practices.

4/17/2015 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So yeah, no post today. Had to take the wife to the doctor for the Worst Headache Ever. Feels like her skull is too small for her brain. Turned out to be a side effect from an antibiotic she was on for a sty.

4/17/2015 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, how miserable. I hope she feels better very soon!

4/17/2015 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As soon as you can say Norco.

4/17/2015 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thank God for modern medicine. And temporary headaches.

4/17/2015 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thank God Mrs. G. is gonna be okay. :)

4/17/2015 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That serpent. Marketing, Legal, Accounting, Human Resources.
The irony of developing a BS detector is that one needs to buy into being taken. I think kids should hide from creepy uncles.

One of these days, someone is going to say no, and kick that where the sun don't shine. Oh wait.

4/17/2015 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I would have bet anything that the Most Despised Woman in America is a liberal. Confirmed.

Funny that she boasts of a college education while demonstrating what it's worth.

4/17/2015 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

If my daughter turned out like that, I would be so ashamed. It's actually kind of worse that she clearly knows how to parrot all the right sentiments about kindness and acceptance; she can't claim that she didn't know any better.

I'm reminded of another video I saw recently, some girl trying to talk her way out of a ticket by saying, "I thought cops didn't give tickets to pretty girls!" As he passed hers through the window, he replied, "We don't."

4/17/2015 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberalism for her (and so many others) is a transparent reaction formation for the purpose of pretending to be the opposite of what she actually is.

4/17/2015 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

So, basically she is a bitch in lady clothing.

4/17/2015 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I've seen a lot of people pointing out that the towing company, including the cashier, have a pretty despicable reputation. I could understand her anger if her car was towed unjustly. What's getting all the hate, though, is the way she chose to express it.

4/17/2015 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think the hate is directed at who she reveals herself to be, i.e., to her loathsome character, not the anger. There is nothing wrong with anger per se, and no necessary relation between being angry and having an awful personality. Jesus could express anger at the moneychangers without insulting their looks, education, teeth, weight, etc.

4/17/2015 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, exactly. There are plenty of ways she could have taken issue with her treatment by the towing company, none of which need involve the insults that spewed out of her.

Also, I have to wonder how many times she's looked at herself in a mirror and thought, "you need to lose some weight, baby girl." (Not saying in any way that she does, but that seems to be the standard mindset for women on tv no matter how thin they are) It just flowed out of her so easily.

4/17/2015 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Joan said "...That's the First Commandment right there."

Sure is, isn't it? As well as its denial being the means is the fall.

4/17/2015 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Ooh yikes, I hope Mrs. G is feeling better.

4/17/2015 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Ugh. "means is the fall" -> "means of the fall"

4/17/2015 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tried posting this earlier to no avail, but here goes. I think I've stumbled across an awful truth. When the m.d. of twitter Ireland said at an event to promote same sex marriage that it would be bad for business should the upcoming referendum fail, I was reminded of Revelation 13:17 which states that no man might buy or sell,save he had the mark,or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. This beast I take to be the same one Sigmund Freud named as the 'Id' ( more ammo for Id card objectors ) where the animalistic sexual impulse is rooted. Revelation 13:16 states that he ( the beast ) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark IN their right hand or IN their foreheads. ( the N.I.V. bible states 'on' ) The - LGBT Science - website details the aforementioned marks having interviews with scientists to account for their sexual orientation. Basically it's the finger length ratio of the right hand and brain size and structure.

4/18/2015 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Franklin Aristotle said...

"Here is how Schuon defines sanctity: 'it is the intuition of the spiritual nature of things; profound intuition which determines the entire soul, hence the entire being of man.'"

I once read something written by a "scientisticist" (I apologize for the barbarism," to the effect that someday we could come to understand consciousness itself.

As if we could ever have our understanding of consciousness be the same as our experience of it! What a laugh (or it would be, if it weren't so important).

4/19/2015 11:45:00 AM  

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