Monday, March 02, 2009

Telos All About the Truth of the World, Brother Bob

The cosmos is the residue of man; the universe is merely the placenta, but we are the centa'.

That was a comment I left over at Just Thomism the other day. It was provoked by James' interior dialogue, in which he tells himsoph -- or rather, vice versa -- that "if it takes so many seeds to make a dandelion, we could expect a universe to be left over after making an earth."

I am reminded that in another post -- if I remember correctly -- James mentioned that it is not as if there are four independent kinds of causation, i.e., material, efficient, formal, and final. Rather, there is only causality, so that all causes will have features of each.

This is one of the intrinsic errors of scientism, as it tries to pretend it can get along without final causes, even while habitually slipping them in the back door. For the truth is, one cannot even think coherently in the absence of final causation.

As the wiki article specifies, the final cause "is that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The final cause or telos is the purpose or end that something is supposed to serve, or it is that from which and that to which the change is. This also covers modern ideas of mental causation involving such psychological causes as volition, need, motivation or motives, rational, irrational, ethical, and all that gives purpose to behaviour."

Now, to say that the cosmos was created is just another way of saying that it has a final cause, purpose, or end: an alpha and omega, for the one implies the other.

Or, to turn it around, to the extent that final causes exist, then there is a Creator. Or to turn it around again, since there is a Creator, we should expect to see final causes permeating existence. Furthermore, in the absence of a Creator, these final causes make no sense at all, for in eluminating the Creator you have removed their very ground. It would be analogous to positing material cause in the absence of matter, efficient cause in the absence of energy, or formal cause in the absence of boundaries between things.

So the scientistic attack on final cause is simply a veiled attack on the Creator, and with that, thought itself; and ultimately on man as such, for there is no man without purpose. Take away meaning and you have abolished man.

This is why the "final cause" of the left is to systematically destroy intrinsic meaning, and to replace it with their wholly man-made meanings and purposes; which in turn converts you to a slave, for a slave is any human who is forbidden to discover and actualize his transcendent reason for being.

Metaphysics deals with ultimate causes "from above," i.e., the vertical, as opposed to the purely horizontal causes explored by science. Thus, one way to eliminate final cause is to simply pretend that the vertical does not exist, even though, again, the very conduct of science is impossible in the absence of verticality, no matter how attenuated. The moment a scientist has said "truth," he has said "vertical," and therefore finality, absolute, and God. For the truth of something is its final cause.

What is the truth of man? Note that the materialist does not really eliminate final cause. Rather, he simply affirms that the final cause is the material or efficient cause, i.e., random matter and energy. That being the case, he is promulgating the metaphysical absurdity of "absolute relativism," or the impossible idea that the ultimate meaning of existence is ultimate meaninglessness.

But being is thoroughly infused with the "residue of God," most notably, in the form of the truth, beauty, goodness, and unity we encounter there. As Balthasar writes, these transcendentals "are all pervasive and therefore immanent qualities of being as such." Furthermore, they are inexhaustible, in keeping with their divine provenance.

Which is why the perversion of scientism is so perverse, in that it annihilates "the depth dimension of being." "The formula A is nothing other than... typifies this perversion, whatever transcendental it affects." For it is much more the case -- again, thanks to the radiant plenitude of O -- that "A is always something other than" (Balthasar).

Therefore, despite the best efforts of the scientistic Adversary, "Neither goodness nor beauty nor truth is exhausted by any de-definition [or deconstruction, or attack on linking]; the multi-dimensional reality of the transcendentals can never be flattened out by any kind of reduction, and there is no way to capture the mystery either of their existence or of their essence in a formula" (Balthasar).

To lead a spiritual life is simply to lead a life that fundamentally bears on eternity. The tragedy of existence, as all Christians know, is that -- at least for the time being -- "ever-greater love calls forth ever-greater hatred."

Ah, little lambs, you're starin' at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of left wing-right wing, of Rush vs. Obama?

I think we are now in a position to coontemplate DeKoninck's orthoparadoxical statement that "Every natural form tends toward man. The idea of man bursts forth from no matter what form, even from a material point of view. The essential desire of prime matter, which always indefinitely exceeds any form received, is to be actuated by the immobile form of man. And in this perspective, subhuman forms are much less states than tendencies."

Ah, dear hearts, do you see the point, and how DeKoninck cannot not be speaking the truth? For you see, "truth is not just a property of knowledge, but a transcendental quality of being as such" (Balthasar). To know any truth is to know all truth, at least in potential. And to know this is to know the final cause of existence, as the cosmos completes and perfects itself in the life and truth and being of spirit.

[T]he man who does not dare to jump in the water will never learn what it means to swim and... the man who does not dare to jump into the truth will never attain the certainty that truth in fact exists.... [T]his first act of faith, of self-abandoning confidence, far from being irrational, is simply the prior condition of any certainty about the existence of the rational in the first place. --Balthasar, Theo-Logic: Truth of the World

Definitely one of my all time favorite films:


julie said...

To know any truth is to know all truth, at least in potential. And to know this is to know the final cause of existence, as the cosmos completes and perfects itself in the life and truth and being of spirit.

I just wanted to see it again.
Beautiful post today.

walt said...

" way to eliminate final cause is to simply pretend that the vertical does not exist..."

This is a "polite" expression of the agenda to eliminate the vertical dimension from everyone's awareness.

The old Left Hand, down for the count? Externally, would that I live that long! Internally, is a different matter.

Anonymous said...

>> . . . the "final cause" of the left is to systematically destroy intrinsic meaning, and to replace it with their wholly man-made meanings . . . <<

Hadn't dwelled on it too much before, but the very term "deconstruct" implies a reversal of the ordering process of the cosmos - yet another way the Adversary tips his hand (claw) for those with eyes to see.

Of course, when the cohering property of the cosmos is reversed, divine love returns or is reduced to the primal fire, its necessary engine. At this point, the result is pure *chaos*, everything against everything else, ie., hell. It doesn't matter how many seductive man-made meanings and artificial forms are conjured up out of perverted imagination - they'll all eventually melt in the fires of chaos, which is the Adversary's goal.

Anonymous said...

Night of the Hunter is indeed a terrific film, an allegorical tale of a man of darkness posing as a man of light. He fools some, discomfits a few, but the one living in the light sees through him. It has the added grace of being politically incorrect, since the being living in the light keeps a shotgun handy.

Jack said...


Thank you for the post. My daily dose of HOPE!

Dumb, barely relevant question #457: Is Bion pronounced "Bye-on" of "Bee-on"?

Gagdad Bob said...


Anonymous said...

Okay, okay, Bob, I will, promise.

mushroom said...

that "if it takes so many seeds to make a dandelion, we could expect a universe to be left over after making an earth."

God is extravagant. Some complain that He is wasteful. In the basic sense of the word, He is prodigal, and so He loves the prodigal -- like the woman with the alabaster jar of ointment that was broken and poured out. Jesus said, "You'll remember her because she is just like Me."

wv: epticap an onomatopoeia meaning to throw up in one's cap.

julie said...

hibrate: to rest in the Waters, soaking in Truth by osmosis.

Anonymous said...

OT to Maineman,
Left you a Yuri comment on yesterday's thread.

Anonymous said...

Boy, talk about coincidences. My family and I were talking about the right and the left hand today, and the Right and the Left. We were joking around about the fact, that in latin, "left" is called "sinister."

Then a few hours later, here is the sinister hand again, in that movie clip.

Guess I'll be putting that one in my Netflix queue along with the Manchurian Candidate.

Anonymous said...

Sehoy -

Re: "left" as Latin "sinister", eg., "leftwing" -
like I say, the Black Hats always tip their hand (talons) in some way.

Coincidence, Sehoy? I THINK NOT!!!

NoMo said...

"...the multi-dimensional reality of the transcendentals..." Man, I love that!

Speaking of favorite movies (stories)...

The power of the enemy is growing. Sauron will use his puppet Saruman to destroy the people of Rohan. Isengard has been unleashed. The Eye of Sauron now turns to Gondor, the last free kingdom of men. His war on this country will come swiftly. He senses the Ring is close. The strength of the Ringbearer is failing. In his heart, Frodo begins to understand. The quest will claim his life. You know this. You have foreseen it. It is the risk we all took. In the gathering dark, the will of the Ring grows strong. It works hard now to find its way back into the hands of men. Men, who are so easily seduced by its power. The young captain of Gondor has but to extend his hand, take the Ring for his own and the world will fall. It is close now, so close to achieving its goal. For Sauron will have dominion over all life on this Earth, even unto the ending of the world. The time of the elves is over. Do we leave Middle-Earth to its fate? Do we let them stand alone?

Phew! Where did that come from?

By the way, anyone know the way to Galt's Gulch?

Anonymous said...

To oppose scientistic meaningless is to freight all things, however small, with meaning.

This is an excellent spiritual practice. Contemplate the small things; your phone bill, a pencil. The way somebody honked at you in traffic. All the threads tie in somehow.

Randomness is not a common phenom here. It may seem as such, but no...

The highest faculty of man is not the intellect, but the inutuition, as long as its functioning correctly.

The intuition is the cutting edge of human evolution. It is the only faculty that can penetrate the illusory randomness to reveal the Architect of Time making his multifarious moves, large and small.

The most common impediment to the spirit person is not being radical enough, stopping short of totally falling back on the intuition and forsaking other guidance. Even a smidegeon of conventional thinking renders it into a very shaky faculty.
Paradoxically reliance on intuition only works if you totally commit. It's like leaping off a cliff.

Anonymous said...

Okay. You first.

PSGInfinity said...


WB: ingship, a case of ending justifying the means?

Rick said...

Now I know why… the reason for the over-the-top claims of “right wing conspiracy”, “unpatriotic”, “BusHitler.”
In hopes that, by our own decency, we would be done in. By doubting our instincts and not identify them too soon.

Rick said...

Everyone remembers how “they” protested the cost of the battle in Iraq. At the time I remembered back to reading, or rather seeing a chart of, defence spending, historically, as a percentage of GDP. I want to say during some years of WWII it hovered between 30- 40%. Then I checked and saw the Iraq battle was running about 3% GDP.
I was just reminded of that chart by this AT piece.

The proposed budget will be over 30% of GDP.
What if we need such treasure for say, oh, I dunno, WWIII?
Do you follow me here…?

Anonymous said...

I don't want there to be a vertical.
There can't be any vertical!
The vertical cannot exist.
Therefore, the vertical does not exist!

(Because ... if it did ...
I would have to realize what I am doing is immoral ...)

-Brought to you by Another Bob

Anonymous said...

infinite truth cannot be known in finite minds. life and beauty cannot be understood because they belong to the musings of the eternal. the wonder and mystery of it all evokes love. the eternal part of us comprehends the infinite, but cannot convey it to our limited intellects. the naive who claim authority over knowledge will become hateful as they convince themselves that they know that which is unknowable. once you know "some"thing, it can no longer be "every"thing. it has been carved out and reduced. thus, it is spoiled.