Implicit in this statement is that our minds are attracted by and toward essentiality. Which is what? It is the nonlocal whatness of things. Animal intelligence can know that things are; but human intelligence is made to penetrate beneath thatness -- existence -- to whatness -- essence. Only humans are privileged to know the What of things.
No one knows how this is possible. No, check me on that; we do know how it is possible, but only with recourse to a trans-scientific, metaphysical foundation. Certainly science cannot explain how science is possible.
In this regard, it is difficult to say whether language is a cause or an effect, but either way, language is obviously central to the discernment of essences. It is like the shadow of essentiality. Not for nothing is it said that "In the beginning is the Word," yada yada.
Come to think if it, just as only human beings can know essences, only human beings can unknow or rebel against them. For example, we know that men are essentially men and women women. Indeed, this is why we have the words, the words following upon the essences. But what is the left but a rebellion against essentiality? We'll no doubt return to this subject... or maybe not, because the Aphorist can more than adequately summarize this diabolical inversion with just an astringent line or two:
Today the individual rebels against inalterable human nature [essence] in order to refrain from amending his own correctable [contingent] nature.
Boom! "I was born this way" is no defense for staying that way. It is the literal inversion of what Schuon says above, such that the rejection of essentiality compels man to remain landlocked on this shore, and to never set out for the other.
If man is the sole end of man, an inane reciprocity is born from that principle, like the mutual reflection of two empty mirrors.
Inane if you're lucky, but usually tending toward the horizon of genocide. For ultimately, Humanity is the only totally false god (because, orthoparadoxially, we are the only essentially partial gods, so to speak).
Here begins the gospel of Hell: In the beginning was nothing and it believed nothing was god, and was made man, and dwelt on earth, and by man all things were made nothing. This reduces existence to a vapid monologue in the void, AKA tenure.
Which is why Authentic humanism is built upon the discernment of human insufficiency. Truly truly, in order to understand what you are, you must begin by understanding what you are not. Which is to say, the uncreated Absolute. In the absence of the latter category, you can only imagine yourself to be man -- man being unthinkable in the absence of its eternal complement God. The mirror is not God; and yet, it is "not other than God" either.
At any rate, only the human being knows of essences and therefore appearances, and vice versa. But human beings can never penetrate to the essence of essences, or the holiest of holies, short of self-extinction. There is always a Mystery at the heart of it all, not in the privative sense of ignorance, but in the sense of radiating, or sometimes exploding, presence. Not too little light. Too much. One sees the glowing footprints, and knows they aren't just hanging there suspended by nothing.
"[I]f Being and the first principles which flow from it are incapable of proof, it is because they have no need of proof; to prove them is at once useless and impossible, not through a lack, but through a superabundance of light" (Schuon). If one sees, one doesn't have to prove the existence of sight. Besides, how would you prove sight to one who is blind? Nevertheless, reason can disprove anything -- for example, free will -- but that hardly means it doesn't exist.
Proving what cannot be is insane, humanly speaking. These self-styled free-thinkers only end up freeing man from freedom itself. But you cannot transcend freedom, only sink beneath it. Yes, an ant is free of humanness, while the leftist never stops trying.
Augros asks an intriguing question, which is to say, how is it that we can have five separate senses but experience their transcendent unity in our selves? From where does this unity come? Indeed, to the five natural senses I would add our transnatural senses of the personhood of others, of beauty, of truth, and of the Divine Presence itSoph.
Each sense involves increasingly subtle degrees of touch. We know, for example, that something can "touch our heart." Likewise, to be truly understood by another person is to be touched. We can all "sense" grace, even if most people allow their vertical sense detector to harden or dissipate through nonuse.
"Taken by themselves, the external senses are like five unrelated voices. Together they cohere into your universal sense, they interrelate and become integrated. They harmonize."
To which I would add that the unity is always at the top; if it weren't there, we could never achieve it. It reminds me of a good stereo that is able to reproduce an accurate 3D soundstage. This is only because the sonic unity is prior to the stereo separation (into two speakers) that tries to recreate it.
The senses are complementary. Think, for example, of what humanness might be like if we only had four senses, excluding vision. We are able to teach braille to the blind by transforming what is seen into what is felt. The point is, the higher or more subtle dimension is able to reach down into the lower, but what is the likelihood that a world of blind humans could ever have come up with braille? Braille is a way for fingers to see, but someone first needs to see in order to put sight into the form of touch.
And this leads me to the notion that faith is a way for the intellect to see what it cannot see -- not the intellect in its essence, for intelligence can know anything knowable -- but due to various contingencies. Just as blindness is an accident and not an essence, so too is atheism. If blindness were an essence, then we couldn't teach braille to the blind.
Analogously, think of teaching sign language to lower primates. This can only go so far, because lower primates do not have the essence of speech, and cannot really know essences. I suppose that the brightest among them can penetrate a bit beneath the surface, but no ape will ever be as wrong about existence as your average professor.