And the Melody Became a Note, But the Other Notes Didn't Hear It
Now, I don't want to pretend I've read the whole thing. That's not my job. But I am intrigued by this vast nocean of the wave being contained in its particles. Indeed, a fundamental orthoparadoxical question is how the whole can be "contained" in the part. How is it that something vastly smaller can contain what is immeasurably larger?
I can think of many ways, and we're not even talking about the eucharist. For example, a library that has one good book -- say, the Bible -- contains something infinitely larger than itself. Indeed, perhaps this is one of the appeals of libraries per se: the illusion that we can somehow contain and assume mastery over knowledge which is in reality infinite.
Back when my brain was coming on line and I was randomly reading everything in sight to try to catch up with mankind, I even read some of the fiction of Jean Paul Sartre, including Nausea. In it there is a character, the self-taught man, who spends all of his time trying to read everything that exists.
Beyond that I don't exactly remember the point, but it must be that the autodidact is trying to make up for his -- and our -- intrinsic incompleteness by swallowing the entire library -- as if this will redeem and render him whole. But this would merely lead to a bad case of existential indigestion.
One suspects that tenured ideologues attempt to do something similar, but it is essentially the opposite movement, in that they elevate a trivial part to the whole. This is what the left always does, despite the fact that it cannot be done.
Which is interesting, because when I say it cannot be done, that is an absolute, isn't it? Therefore, it is an example of containing the uncontainable in a healthy and realistic way. To be aware of Hayek's knowledge problem is to be aware of the limits of knowledge -- just as to be aware of Gödel's theorems is to be aware of the limits on man's theorizing. Conversely, to not be aware of Hayek and Gödel will lead to unlimited delusions of containment and mastery.
To put it another way, man can contain a lie or a partial truth. But he is always contained by Truth. Which is not the same as relativism; yes, man is always relative, but relative to the Truth that precedes and transcends him.
The two errors are 1) rejecting Truth, as in moral relativism, academic diversity, and multiculturalism; and 2) imagining one contains or possesses it in the absolute sense. Again, to the extent that we possess Truth, it is only because it has first possessed us. Numerous biblical passages reflect this metaphysic, and indeed, the experience of metanoia -- repentance -- involves being turned inside-out in this holo-fractal manner.
I suppose what I want to emphasize is that you can know a lot by knowing a little. In fact, I am always on the vertical trail of that itsy bitsy that is the key to the whole existentialada.
Again, the Way of the Self-Taught Man is a non-starter, because no matter how much one knows, it is always a tiny fraction in comparison to what can be known: you may know a lot, but only about a little. I guess you could say that a headfull of the things that happen to be true is no replacement for a soph-taught heartfull of things that must be true.
Or as it says plain as night in Finnegans Wake, when a part so ptee does duty for the holos, we soon grow to use of an allforabit. I suppose I'm always on the lookout & -in for that allforabit. Conversely, Somedivide and sumthelot but the tally turns round the same balifuson. A bally ball of confusion I'm tempted to sing.
Again, the holos is always grander than the summa the parts. It's why in marriage, for example, 1 + 1 = 3, whereas in its homosexual counterfeit 1 + 1 = 1. Unity without unification. Big difference!
Barron comes at the knowledge limit from another angle, noting that although "truth concerning God can be discovered through metaphysical speculation," this truth is always asymptotically over the subjective horizon. "Thus, paradoxically, both the mind and the will need to be drawn beyond their own powers in order to realize their proper ends..."
Here again, it is a relationship with Truth, through which the supra-stance of Truth is assimilated into our own finite sub-stance; it is part-icipation in that which con-tains us -- something no part could do in the absence of the transcendent whole of which it is a part.
As Bortoft writes, "the plot is not another detail in the story and the tune is not just another note..." But what if the cosmic plot could become one of its characters, or the Song Supreme one of its notes? What if the Absolute could become relative, or eternity enter time, or Creator enter his own creation, or theory assume its own facts?
We might say that the facts speak for himSelf: "The theory is the facts when these are seen in another dimension.... This transformation from an analytical to a holistic mode of consciousness brings with it a reversal between the container and the content" (ibid.).
We can all agree that facts are external. But external to what? Which is to say, whom?
"[I]n science, as in art, truth is active and not passive, as the dogma of factualism implies.... The scientist is an active participant in scientific truth, but without this meaning that truth is thereby reduced to a merely subjective condition" (ibid.).