Friday, August 12, 2022

Philosophy, Philosophistry, and the Delusions of the Left

Is this esoteric? I mean the previous 3,859 posts? I don't think so. While it may at times seem esoteric, it's just common sense pushed as far as it can go. 

As we've said many times, most people either stop reasoning at an arbitrary point and then deny what their system excludes, or else assume at the beginning what the metaphysic can't explain. Both are circular, when man is always in need of an inspiraling narrative which we try to provide here at One Cosmos.

I suppose I first encountered this problem in a biography of Schopenhauer by Bryan Magee, since it was one of the many things that got on Schopenhauer's nerves: that most philosophers simply stop asking Why? at an arbitrary point. 

Really, it's just the principle of sufficient reason writ large, which in turn is one of the first principles of philosophizing per se: that things have reasons, or causes, which must be sufficient to account for them. Deny this principle, and the very possibility of philosophy and science is denied. For what is knowledge but knowledge of causes?

As there are philosophical preambles to the faith, there are preambles to philosophizing, e.g., the principle of non-contradiction. Another principle or assumption is that there exists an intelligible reality that is external to us. These two principles alone render any number of philosophies null and void -- these latter are better termed philosophistries that mainly fool the people who are paid by foolish parents to fool their children.   

Most modern philosophies are relativist, or nominalist, or reductive, and can only satisfy the intellectually incurious. There are plenty of intelligent people in the world, but most bring a thimble or bucket when even a lake can't contain the ocean of intelligibility. 

But it's not just a matter of "size," or quantity; rather, it's a matter of dimensionality, so scientism (for example) is like a two-dimensional map of a three-dimensional space.  It has its uses, but the menu isn't the meal. 

Another characteristic of reality is that it is complex (which is not the same as complicated). This principle, although as obvious and accessible to common sense as the others, is just as widely ignored. It basically says that one cause can have diverse effects, while one effect can have a multitude of causes.

For example, it wasn't that long ago that biologists presumed a linear, one-to-one relationship between genes and their expression, but it turns out that few traits are that simple, and that the genome is full of nonlinear surprises -- boo! --  making it not just complicated but complex

It used to be thought that complexity was the exception, linearity the rule. Turns out it's the other way around, and that, in the words of theoretical biologist Robert Rosen,

organisms possess noncomputable, unformalizable models. Such systems are what I call complex. The world of these systems is much larger and more generic than the simple world we inherit from reductionism.

Instead of simple I would say simplistic, not merely in a pejorative sense, but as antonymous to complex. Note that the world of complexity is both larger and more generic than the small and simplistic world of scientistic reduction: simplicity is situated in the context of complexity, not vice versa.

Rosen writes that "Any question becomes unanswerable if we do not permit ourselves a universe large enough to deal with the question." So, it's not so much that the answers are too small as the questions aren't big enough. 

What are the Big Questions that co-arise with man and which never go away? Before attempting an answer, this is precisely the material object of philosophy: the great and primordial WTF?! You could say that philosophy both starts and ends here, but this doesn't mean it's merely absurcular. Rather -- quick, is there a poet in the house?!

We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.

Like that.

Interestingly, this "greater knowledge" is inversely proportional to humility, such that the more you know the less you know. Sounds paradoxical, but it's just more common sense, for as Hayek explains, linear "constructivist rationalism" confers "a sense of unlimited power to realize our wishes," whereas the intrinsic complexity of "evolutionary rationalism" entails 

the insight that there are limitations to what we can deliberately bring about, and to the recognition that some of our present hopes are delusions. 

To be precise, the always delusional hopes of the left. Allowing ourselves to be deluded by this vain hopenchangery always results in a diminution of what man can actually achieve. Which is why the left always wants to "divvy up the pie," with no curiosity whatsoever as to how the pie came to be. 

Just as understanding the laws and limits of nature is what allows us to transcend nature, it is "recognition of the limits of the possible which has enabled man to make full use of his powers" (ibid.).

The Morning Indoctrination from the NY Times is a nutcase in point. In it, the author explains how the Inflation Reduction Act will also, by the way, save the planet. First of all,

The climate bill will make cleaner energy cheaper for everyone.

Cheaper for everyone. I'll bite: how?

The bill’s climate provisions are mostly a collection of subsidies for energy that does not emit any carbon, like solar, wind and nuclear power.

Wait a minute: who pays for the subsidies? Who made the money tree? Santa Claus? Never mind. 

I'm old enough to remember when the Times was addressed to a 10th grade level of intelligence instead of 5th grade. 

The bill is also a sign that the U.S. is starting to take climate change seriously. That will give American diplomats more credibility as they ask other countries, such as China and India, to do the same.

Make that a pre-K level of intelligence.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Tao of Trump

Deusclaimer: everything about this post was unexpected, including the title, but I guess that's how the Tao rolls.

I certainly don't know why I am the way I am, but perhaps part of the reason is that I started out so completely aware of my own ignorance that I've never really recovered. I didn't know anything about anything -- except sports and pop music -- until I was well into my twenties.

Yes, there was a relatively brief respite from the ignorance, when I was a canard-carrying leftist (not just an ambient cultural liberal), and thought I knew everything -- or at least enough to render me superior to anyone to my right. Imagine Paul Krugman without the humility and charm. 

Being that I am congenitally insecure, the period of leftist superiority must have been a compensation. Now, being that I can't be the only one, it must be that leftist ideology serves a similar compensatory function for others seduced not only by its promises of omniscience, but by the other benefits as well, such as unearned virtue, social status, and being accepted by the Right People more generally.  

I never truly fit in with those superior specimens of humanity. And the way humans are built, when we don't fit in, we tend to blame ourselves. It's why we're vulnerable to social pressure. 

I suppose it goes back to the principle that life is just a continuation of high school. I didn't know much back then, but I knew I was an outsider, and I know it now. There was that period in between when I thought I could be one of them. That could never happen in real life, so I guess I'm lucky I found out before it was too late. 

Imagine wanting to fit in with the likes of Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough, Don Lemon, Tom Friedman, Joy Behar, Al Sharpton, Barack Obama, et al. Worse yet, imagine actually fitting in. It would simultaneously be hell and not knowing one is in hell. 

Maybe hell as such is not knowing you're there. They say God doesn't create hell per se, rather, it is built prick-by-prick by people and their bad choices. Really, it's just a consequence of freedom poorly used.

Hell is ignorant of being Hell. If it knew, it would be a temporary place of purgation (Dávila).

It starts back in Genesis 3 -- which, to repeat, didn't happen once upon a time, but rather, happens every time, starting today:

The proclamation of our autonomy is the founding act of Hell.

Like so many aspects of Cosmic Orthodoxy, the purpose of this principle is not so much to transmit formal content as to avoid catastrophic error. It's pretty simple: don't start by denying the existence of the Absolute, because that way lies cosmic madness, stupidity, narcissism, vanity, and the denial of every transcendent good. It is the Self-Evident Truth with which we must begin and on which everything else is founded. Deny it, and hell follows, whether sooner or later. And at the moment, it's gaining on us.

This is the primary reason why politics is so important. It reminds me of something Charles Krauthammer wrote about why it is arguably the most consequential subject of all, because if you get it wrong, then everything else goes south with it:

Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything -- high and low and, most especially, high -- lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away.

And one of the most important guiding principles of politics is awareness of the Unknown -- and Unknowable -- Unknown. 

It reminds me of a comment by Leo Strauss that I read this morning on PowerLine, to the effect that modern political science isn't "Neronian. Nevertheless one may say of it that it fiddles while Rome burns. It is excused by two facts: it does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that Rome burns.”

I might add that this principle is not unknown to other cultures. For example, in the Tao Te Ching we read that

When the Master governs, the people / are hardly aware that he exists.

If you don't trust the people, / you make them untrustworthy....

He understands that the universe / is forever out of control, / and that trying to dominate events / goes against the current of the Tao.

Stop trying to control. / Let go of fixed plans and concepts, / and the world will govern itself.

That last one might as well be the Tao of Hayek. There's even a bit of explicit economic advice: 

The more subsidies you have, / the less self-reliant people will be....

I let go of economics, / and people become prosperous.

Who knew Lao-tzu was an Austrian? And a liberal anti-leftist:

When the will to power is in charge, / the higher the ideals, the lower the results.

When they think that they know the answers, / people are difficult to guide. / When they know that they don't know, / people can find their own way.

Finally, 

Those who try to control, / who use force to protect their power, / go against the direction of the Tao. / They take from those who don't have enough / and give to those who have far too much. 

They unleash 87,000 new armed federal agents on the people, / raid the home of a past and future president, / use the threat of Climate Change to further enrich wealthy donors, / and rob from future generations to finance their greed. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Progressivism: Come for the Vanity, Stay for the Profits

Few things are as consequential as our necessary ignorance, the awareness of which flowing from our prior acknowledgement of Necessary Being. To acknowledge the latter is to simultaneously affirm our own contingency, and ultimately nothingness -- or rather, a nothingness that could only remedied if we could somehow be "grafted" to Necessary Being -- like branches on a vine or something.

You wouldn't think such metaphysical considerations would echo all the way down to economics, but human beings clearly struggle with their status as a contingent ciphers, so, in the words of the Aphorist, Man inflates his emptiness in order to challenge God.

On the one hand Man believes that his impotence is the measure of things, but on the other, Man calls “absurd” what escapes his secret pretensions to omnipotence. This results in impotence and absurdity masquerading as meaning and mastery -- for example, in the Soviet Union, where the presumed omniscience and omnipotence redounded to utter ruin -- both to the nation and countless souls.

There's a lesson in there, but man never stops ignoring it -- in particular, ignoring his own necessary ignorance. 

But again, our necessary ignorance is the shadow of Necessity itself, the latter being the source of both our knowledge and our ignorance. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but I suppose we could say that knowledge without ignorance results in that Pride which goeth before a fall.

Or, we could say that knowledge without wisdom can just as easily lead us straight into the abyss. Wisdom is the material object of philosophy, for which reason the Aphorist says... many things, but let's try to limit ourselves to three big ones:

Without philosophy, the sciences do not know what they know.

Check. 

The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.

Check. 

In philosophy a single naïve question is sometimes enough to make an entire system come tumbling down.

Checkmate. 

Bob, why are you always plagiarizing Dávila? Several reasons: first, he is plagiarizing me, in that he expresses what I already believe and know with the minimum of words and maximum impact, like a needle with a great deal of force behind it, such that it goes straight through me.

But more generally, what Nasr says about Schuon equally applies to Dávila: his writings "are characterized by essentiality, universality and comprehensiveness." Essentiality:

they always go to the heart and are concerned with the essence of whatever they deal with.... reaching the very core of the subject....

To read his works is to be transplanted from the shell to the kernel, to be carried on a journey that is at once intellectual and spiritual from the circumference to the Center.  

Universal:  

he does not confine himself solely to a particular world, period or region. His perspective is truly universal in the sense of embracing all orders of reality from the Divine to the human...

In this regard, note the function of appearances, which (as alluded to at the top) are both ignorance and knowledge, depending: "the particular at once veils and manifests the Universal as form hides and reveals the Essence."

Comprehensive: they range from the

metaphysical peak which touches on the infinite expanse of the heavens to particular fields such as formal theology, anthropology and psychology....

From the foothills below to the clouds that veil the toppermost beyond. There are differences, to be sure, but that's a different post, which, like this one, hasn't yet been written.

Back to our subject, which is... a kind of anti-subject as important as any subject per se, AKA our necessary ignorance. 

Not to re-belabor the point, but "the basic order of the Great Society cannot rest entirely on design," and cannot "aim at particular foreseeable results." Imagine, for example, trying to "aim the climate" at a particular temperature 100 years hence!

Who would ever attempt such a thing? The presumption is off the charts, and makes the builders of Babel seem sober in comparison. 

Nevertheless, that's the progressive left in a nutshell, which we might say is the institutionalization of the fall of man. Which I do mean literally -- or essentially, universally, and comprehensively. This institution

is based on conceptions which are demonstrably false, yet are so pleasing to human vanity that they have gained great influence and are constantly employed even by people who know that they rest on a fiction...

Come for the vanity, stay for the profits. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Cosmos and Cosmopathology: Getting Off the Crazy Train

There is an infinite gap between knowledge of ignorance and ignorance of ignorance. The gap is infinite because Infinitude per se is inexhaustible, being the extension of the Absolute into space, time, matter, relativity, diversity, multiplicity, etc. 

To reduce Infinitude to the finite is to implicitly affirm an absoluteness that man can mirror but never "contain." I could drone on about Gödel, but you know the drill: admit your map is incomplete and move on. And up.

And yet, it seems that human beings are addicted to this grandiose usurpation. Ever since the first couple decided to be as gods, man has been getting high on his own epistemological supply, from the Tower of Babel to Prometheus to the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Man is not just stupid, but infinitely so. Unlike animals, who don't pretend to know it all, it seems that man can't help doing so. At least modern man, since to say "post-Christian" is to say either naive rationalism (scientism) or naive irrationalism (postmodernism); the former are too clever to know their limitations, the latter too stupid.

Both campfs "know it all," but

Nothing is more superficial than intelligences that comprehend everything.

In reality,
That which is incomprehensible increases with the growth of the intelligence.

But you will have no doubt noticed that 

Intelligence is a train from which few do not deboard, one after the other, in successive stations (Dávila x 3).

Only the mystic or saint take the train all the way to the highest station. The rest of these congenitally incurious yahoos end their journey at some provincial stop and pretend they're in Shangri-La. 

Hayek calls it the "synoptic delusion," but it's the same as Voegelin's "closed existence," which is

the mode of existence in which there are internal impediments to a free flow of truth into consciousness and the pull of the transcendental (Webb). 

Which results in what Voegelin calls "deformation," i.e.,

the destruction of the order of the soul, which should be "formed" by the love of transcendental perfection inherent in the fundamental tension of existence (ibid.).

As you can see, this goes beyond a mere psychopathology, or even existential pathology, as it is more onto- and cosmological. Cosmopathology? Is that a thing?

Yes it's a thing, and I am quite sure it's the same thing that is expressed mythopoetically in Genesis 3. 

Let's start with the Cosmos: what is it? Well, if you reduce it to its material qualities, you have already placed -- plunged -- yourself outside it, into a false reality. In terms of Genesis 3, you have fallen.  

The real Cosmos is "the whole of ordered reality including animate and inmate nature" -- or in other words, conscious and "nonconscious," transcendent and immanent, vertical and horizontal. How hard is this to keep in mind? Very hard for the tenured. This real -- or at least not-unreal -- world encompasses

the full range of the tension between of existence toward the transcendental. Noetic and pneumatic differentiations of consciousness separate this cosmos into the immanent "world" and the transcendent "divine ground."

Now, you can call this fundamental tension and its poles by other names, but you can't deny their existence -- or presence -- without denying yourself and everything else. This tension is where we live, have always lived, and must live. It can never be "escaped," only denied, and this denial results in one's model being conflated with the reality it can only symbolically represent. 

Voegelin also uses the term "Gnosticism" for this disordered movement, which is "A type of thinking that claims absolute cognitive mastery of reality," and which "may take [either] transcendentalizing or immanentizing forms" (e.g., idealism or rationalism at one end, Marxism or scientism at the other).

Well, "who cares?," you might asking. "So what if man thinks he knows more than he can know?"

Hayek writes that all totalitarian doctrines -- of which socialism is but a sssofter and more ssseductvie version -- 

are false, not because of the values on which they are based, but because of a misconception of the forces which have made the Great Society and civilization possible.

These differences are the differences between an open and closed world, and "ultimately rest on purely intellectual issues capable of scientific resolution" -- at least so long as science isn't reduced to scientism.

To be continued...

Monday, August 08, 2022

The Cheap Omniscience of Progressive Serpents

Picking up where we laughed off, Pieper speaks of a kind of lightheartedness connected with not knowing everything and, by extension, not being in charge of the cosmos; for it seems that omniscience and omnipotence are closely related, even in humans. 

Put conversely, it's why most politicians imagine they are fit to rule, when they are actually too stupid to know they're not. Our political swamp is teeming with the infrahuman debris of end-stage Dunning-Kruger, as evidenced by Brandon and his line of suckcession, which goes from Kamala Harris to Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy, Antony Blinken, Janet Yellen, Lloyd Austin, Merrick Garland, and on. I could continue, but you get the point: it's idiots all the way down

The larger point, if I have one, is that 

The claim to absolute certainty contains not only something which is fundamentally humorless but even formally un-human (Pieper).

This checks out. Humor requires a self-awareness that is entirely absent -- even forbidden -- on the left. I'm old enough to remember when it wasn't this way, because Dems used to at least pretend to be more liberal than leftist. Now there are no classical liberals at all among the progressive left. 

Omniscience and brittleness go together, hence the trigger warnings, the cancellation of truth tellers, the ban on noticing, the conspiracy of fake news, and the assaults on free speech more generally. 

For human beings, omniscience is always a function of nescience: the less you know, the more you think you do; and the more you know, the less you imagine you know it all. 

Now, the lure of omniscience is especially appealing to narcissists. This is why academia and journalism are such cesspits of intellectual narcissism, for what is ideology but a kind of cheap omniscience? Not only does it explain everything, but it simultaneously signals one's brilliance and virtue, plus it confers cost-free (except for one's soul) social status. It may be craven, stupid, and conformist, but you can't say it doesn't work.

Omniscience is always on offer by narcissists and sociopaths, for the simple reason that man is ignorant and always will be. Of course, we can know a great deal about a great many things, but there is is more that we don't know, plus a great deal that we can never know. It is always this last realm that the narcissistic political psychopath exploits. 

Never know? Bob, you're the guy who's always telling us how the intellect-as-such is conformed to the Absolute, and how man is therefore capable of knowing everything. 

That is correct as far as it goes, but what I actually say is that man is capable of knowing everything that can be known. I never say he can know what can never be known, so much so that I sometimes even wonder if God himself can "know the unknowable," but that would take us far afield. Suffice it to say that we cannot know what is absurd or fundamentally unintelligible, but we also cannot understand something that is infinitely complex.

Consider the human brain, which is by orders of magnitude the most complex entity in all of creation. As the old gag goes, if it were simple enough for us to understand, it would be too simple to host an intellect capable of understanding it. I just googled it, and there are said to be 100 billion neurons in the brain, with 100 trillion connections.  

It's enough that a single brain is infinitely complex, but they're also interconnected with other brains in irreducibly complex and fundamentally irreducible ways. Which is where Hayek comes in.

For what is an economy but an irreducibly complex web of brains, each with its own particular knowledge of economic conditions, plus its own needs, desires, goals, and plans. The central planner ignores all this complexity, and simply steamrolls over it, most recently with the not even fraudulent Inflation Reduction Act. The only mystery is why they didn't name it the Live Forever on Sugar Candy Mountain Act.

Of course it will fail, but this failure will have no impact on the perennial human desire to be as gods. Yes, it's the same old Genesis 3 All Over Again, which is to say, the false promise of omniscience. Unless, of course, the serpent is the hero of the story -- the first omniscient central planner with a better idea of how to run things. 

To be continued...

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Let's Start With What We Don't Know

One of the reasons we appreciate Hayek so much around here is his respect for the unknown and unknowable unknown. A quote at the beginning of his Law, Legislation and Liberty sums up this perspective nicely: "There seems to be only one solution to the problem: that the elite of mankind acquire a consciousness of the limitation of the human mind" (Guglielmo Ferrero).

In other words, the only solution is NO MORE SOLUTIONS! -- in particular, political solutions that presume a knowledge that is in principle strictly impossible for man, or for any group of men, no matter how credentialed and indoctrinated.  

Hayek was an agnostic, so he could only take his ignorance so far. Here at One Cosmos, we never stop trying to follow it all the way up to its nonlocal source, more on which as we proceed.

In our view, every man necessarily lives in a matrix of some kind (AKA the world). However, one can be aware or unaware of this matrix. And if you don't know you're in one, you can't get out.

Leftism is a direct consequence of the latter, as it is composed of people who have no self-awareness, or rather, no awareness of the manmode matrix in which they are living. Thus, quite naturally they try to impose this ideological matrix on the restavus, nor are they capable of understanding why we do not wish to be so confined, domesticated, and castrated. 

Now, there is a way out of the matrix, and this is the ultimate purpose of religion. I don't want to waste a lot of time discussing disordered and dysfunctional religiosity, which obviously exists because man is man, and it doesn't get worse than that. 

Rather, I will only speak for our kind of religiosity. I hesitate to give it a name, because in one sense it's just "mere Christianity," while in another it is extreme Christianity, or better, extreme ignorance, applied unknowing, and strategic emptiness. 

Incidentally, there are aphorisms for everything we've said thus far, meaning there is at least one other human being who is in my tree. Which is remarkably comforting. I only hope this blog provides the same service for someone someday somewhere. I'll try to limit myself to ten, otherwise I could plagiarize all day. These first two sound like they could have been written by Hayek:

Rationalism is not the exercise of reason; it is the product of certain special assumptions that have pretended to identify themselves with reason itself.

“Irrationalist” is shouted at the reason that does not keep quiet about the vices of rationalism.

In other words, reason can liberate or confine the intellect to a rationalist matrix: Hayek calls the latter "naive" or "constructivist rationalism," as opposed to critical or evolutionary rationalism. Naive rationalism is unaware of its limits, for which reason  

No one in politics can foresee the consequences either of what he destroys or of what he constructs.

We always have problems, but God help us from the solutions!

Propose solutions? As if the world were not drowning in solutions!

The more severe the problems, the greater the number of incompetents that a democracy calls forth to solve them.  

Into the Great UnKnown:

That which is incomprehensible increases with the growth of the intelligence.

Religious thought does not go forward like scientific thought does, but rather goes deeper.

God is not an inane compensation for lost reality, but the horizon surrounding the summits of conquered reality.

It's bad enough that 

There is an illiteracy of the soul that no diploma cures,
worse yet that there is an illiteracy that a diploma only deepens and solidifies into a full-blown matrix.  

Ultimately, 

Mysticism is the empiricism of transcendent knowledge.

That's right, empirical: neither rational nor irrational, but transrational

Now, apophatic knowledge of God is just the acknowledgement that God himself is unknowable, such that anything said of him must be simultaneously unsaid. But it seems that this apophatic dimension pervades everything, which is precisely why everything, if looked at rightly, is a mystery -- which is not an absence but a presence.  

Here's a passage from the essay by Pieper discussed in the previous post:

the created spirit can never comprehend anything in the strict sense (comprehend means... to know something to the extent that it is knowable in itself, i.e., to exhaust all knowability and convert it into the known, to know something totally and "once and for all"). 

Since this is only possible for an absolute creative spirit..., for a human spirit there can be no last, ultimate absolute evidence.

This is "much more radical than the suspicion entertained by the methodic doubter," so it surpasses the mere worldly and naive cynicism of the tenured. Call it trans-cynicism and trans-ironic. Also trans-comedic, for there is a 

cheerfulness connected with not being able to comprehend, a cheerfulness which is closely related to humor and which is based on the fact that man knows that he is not absolute-being -- a creature (ibid.).

In short, this joke is easy and its burden Light: a guffah-HA! experience. 

Saturday, August 06, 2022

What We Can Know and What We Can't Not Know

Enough about the pathologies of language. What about its virtues? What is it -- and by extension, this blog -- good for? 

Well, for starters, we would not and could not be human without it. In the beginning is the Word, whether we're talking about the Godhead or manhood, the latter somehow being a reflection of the former, or else I'm not here and this isn't happening. 

Like anybody could even know that. Correct: we cannot know with certitude if we are or are not a reflected image of Ultimate Reality, capable of knowing all that can be known.

But we can take a hint, for you will have noticed that even asking the question requires capabilities that infinitely transcend physics and biology, matter and life. The bottom line is that if God doesn't exist, only He knows it with ironyclad certitude.

For our part, we can be pretty darn certain that the Creator exists, in part because we can know with 100% certitude that we aren't the Creator. 

Given our infinite distance from the rest of creation (even while acknowledging the obvious continuities with realms below), this infinitude requires a sufficient reason, the reason being Infinitude itself -- which is to say, the celestial ray that emanates from the vertical Center to the cosmic Periphery. Without it, we couldn't have knowledge of God or of anything else.  

Pieper writes that "I only 'know' something properly when I know it with certainty and reliably." And this knowledge, in order to be knowledge, "concerns man's relationship to reality as a whole." 

So really, if we're going to presume to have knowledge of anything, it must be in the context of knowledge of everything, otherwise it's just special pleading with a host of buried assumptions that ultimately reflect the inverse mythopoetic assertion: Ye shall be as gods.  

Now, who could possibly have knowledge of everything? Only two entities, one in actuality, the other potentially -- which is to say God and man, respectively. 

Man has the potential to know anything that can be known, but only because it is always already Known: we might say that if God is Being Known, man is Knowing Being. Thus, we are always "on the way" to knowledge, while creation is God "on the way" to being known. 

Recall what Pieper says about perfect knowledge being absolute certitude. Thus, *ironically,* we can never have absolute certitude with respect to scientific knowledge, which is always provisional, falsifiable, and context-bound. Rather, we can only have absolute certitude about the Absolute itself, such that

knowledge is perfect when the highest possible fullness of being can be seen, the highest possible object, reality of the most perfect kind (Pieper).

We've already alluded to the Absolute and Infinite. These two wouldn't be complete without the Perfect. 

Which is what now? Well, think about it: we all recognize perfection, if only because we recognize imperfection. 

But it is never a mere binary; rather, we all come into the world -- I did, anyway -- with an implicit Scale of Perfection that applies to every realm of Quality. It's why we can know with a kind of certitude that one thing is better or more adequate or more beautiful than another. Any man can know with absolute certainty that the Beatles weren't perfect, but he can know with equal certainty that they're better than Miley Cyrus. Conversely, if you can't know that, what can you know?

This is indeed why you can't judge a man by his race, sex, or creed, but you can judge him by the contents of his record collection.

A note to myself suggests that "imperfect knowledge of the highest thing is superior to perfect knowledge of lower things," but that's a false dichotomy, again, because the latter is always a kind of imperfect knowledge of the highest thing, precisely. 

What you have read thus far will probably be the most "original" thing you read today, and I'm pretty sure this originality contributes to the blog's widespread and growing unpopularity. And yet, it isn't original at all. Come to find out that some guy named Thomas was pre- plagiarizing me over 700 years ago:

Intellectual natures have a greater affinity to the whole than other beings.

Our intellect is understanding extended to infinity.

This ordering of the intellect to infinity would be vain and senseless if there were no infinite object of knowledge. 

Each particular knowledge is also derived from some completely certain knowledge.

The intellectual soul is said to be like the horizon or boundary line between the corporeal and incorporeal.

The source of every imperfect thing lies necessarily in one perfect being.

The final happiness of man consists in this -- that in his soul is reflected the order of the whole universe.

The last end of the universe must necessarily be the good of the intellect. This, however, is truth. Hence truth must be the last end of the whole universe.

And of this post. Except to say that, despite the lack of interest, I suppose I'll keep trying, because

The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.