Bottom line for today -- and for all time: the final happiness of man consists in this -- that in his soul is reflected the order of the whole universe.
Sounds nice. But is this even possible?
Yes. We're talking about the order or structure, not necessarily the content. For It is said that the soul is in a certain sense all things, because it is created to know all things.
Again, there is nothing in the world that is proportionate to the soul and its potential to know; if it exists, then we can damn well know it (because existence and intelligibility are synonymous terms, like being and truth). Nothing in the world can explain that which understands and thereby transcends the world.
Atheists like to accuse believers of anti-intellectualism, but the reality is precisely the opposite. Well, not exactly; for we are opposed to mere intellectualism, which is to the intellect what rationalism is to reason, or pørn to eros. And it is no doubt the case that most people do not approach religion primarily via the intellect.
Nevertheless, we are the ones who push the intellect to the farthest reaches, whereas the atheist -- if he takes a moment to think about it -- will notice that he has no grounding whatsoever for the intellect, and therefore no basis to even trust it. Certainly he will not accede to the gnotion that the soul is all things, even though there is no principle in his philosophy that permits him to make such a sweeping assertion -- about all things, no less!
To "understand" something means to know its causes. God, of course is the first (vertical) cause of the universe -- or, prior to that, of existence itself. What does the atheist imagine is the cause of existence? Whatever it is, it represents the wrong answer and therefor a primordial failure to launch. This is a multiple choice test with only two possible answers.
Recall that man is always necessarily situated between O and Ø. This is because intellectual natures have a greater affinity to the whole than other beings. Here Thomas is not referring to special eggheads but to man as such, who is characterized by Reason. It is because of Reason that we can move closer to or more distant from Ø.
Thus, it is critical to bear in mind that the intellect cuts both ways. There are numberless counterfeit forms of intellection, which may be lumped under the rubric ideology. Ideology is the religion of the tenured, for it pretends to comprehend the totality -- the whole -- while undermining any possible basis for comprehension at all. Ideology is a kind of total stupidity that seals itself in a systematic and applied ignorance.
This is because, as Thomas says, A devil knows the nature of human thought better than man does, so it is quite easy for him to hijack the machinery of the mind and soul. Or maybe you've never been to college. Or read the NY Times.
Ideology confuses theory with perception, such that the mind perverted by it can perceive only what the ideology permits him to see. Taken to its logical endpoint, the ideology results in seeing, say, an Asian sportscaster named Robert Lee and thinking at once of a Confederate general. In other words, a normal person just sees Robert Lee the Asian sportscaster. In fact, not even Asian. Just a sportscaster.
But that's naive. The ideology permits one to see far beneath the surface, to the very essence of reality. And that essence always involves victims and oppressors.
So, ideology is omniscience. Only in reverse. And upside-down. It is knowing nothing. Forever. AKA hell.