Monday, January 15, 2018

True Ape and False God

The following will be a free-associational post on No God, No Science. Perhaps an order will emerge from my spontaneous bobbling. But there is nothing wrong with deferred meaning, in that we want to avoid the cognitive sin of eagerly grasping at a superficial answer in order to make the question go away.

Hanby say something in passing that is for us a Bottom Line Take, or Irreducible Cosmic Principle, that "because I always already belong to the world -- because the world and I are distinct poles of a single actuality -- there is no 'subjective experience' of myself that does not already include the prior objective order of the world..."

In other words, intelligence and intelligibility are not two unrelated things, but rather, spring from a single nonlocal source.

Note that I ended that quote with an ellipsis. This is because Hanby adds something -- a therefore -- with which we do not agree, that "there is thus no real possibility of separating subjectivity from this order." That very much depends upon where one is situated vertically.

Whereas scientific knowledge is always conditioned by the subject/object complementarity, there are metaphysical truths that are wholly objective, and which transcend science. These truths are of course known by the subject, but this higher subject -- the intellect -- is capable of objectivity, disinterest, and dispassion.

The other day we spoke of how modern man has a tendency to deny certain primordial complementarities, such that the denied partner always returns in some hidden form.

Thus, for example, scientism purloins the objectivity of the divine subject, as if science can account for its own possibility. But as Schuon says, "The rational faculty detached from its supernatural context" necessarily gives rise "to a way of thought and a form of life both of which are opposed to man." Or just say Prometheus. Or Icarus. Or Genesis 3. Or Earwicker.

If you need it spelled out, "Intelligence separated from its supra-individual source is accompanied ipso facto by that lack of sense of proportions which one calls pride; conversely, pride prevents intelligence, when it has become rationalism, from rising to its source; it can only deny Spirit and replace it with matter..." (ibid.).

Note that pride covertly contaminates objectivity with a passionate subjectivity. It reminds me of the absolute hysteria in the media over the weekend. A big reason why people despise the media is that it pretends to a detached objectivity while being the most histrionically partisan gaggle of teenage girls one could imagine. And the lack of self-awareness only aggravates the pride behind it all. Is there anyone more pompous or self-important than a News Anchor?

At any rate, as it pertains to scientism, "Rather than bow to the evidence of the Spirit, proud reason will deny its own nature which nonetheless enables it to think" (ibid.). And you know what that is? It's cutting off your nous to support your farce: "[T]orrents of intelligence are wasted for the sake of conjuring away the essential and brilliantly proving the absurd..." (ibid.). Nothing can be that shallow and stupid, let alone everything.

Back to NoGodNoScience: "the world must be so constituted in the first place that the soul and its activities of life are genuine possibilities within it" (Sachs, in Hanby).

Or in other words -- for those of you living in Rio Linda -- if something exists, that's a big hint that it is possible for this thing to exist. A cosmos is not just "what it is," but what it is possible for it to be; in other words, actuality does not exhaust being. Rather, there is also potentiality (or potency).

To take an obvious example, the cosmos appeared to be a lifeless blandscape for what, 10 billion years? Wrong. Then it seemed to be devoid of persons for another 4 billion. Wrong again. What other potentialities are tucked away and awaiting actualization? Only a rash man would claim that the novelty is over. More to the point, human creativity participates in the Divine Novelty, and that will never end, although Marxists tried their best.

Note that they too pretended to an absurd promethean objectivity. Suffice it to say that it simultaneously killed God while divinizing man. And of all the false gods, man is the most destructive by far.

It all comes down to "a proper understanding of creation understood (in its passive sense) precisely as a relation" (Hanby), an idea we will explicate as we go along. But relation is indeed a, if not the, key to the whole existentialada. For example, to say creature is to say Creator; to say man is to say God. If there is no God, then man is indeed just a prolongation of apehood, so there is no reason why we should respect him or his opinions.

Hanby mentions another one of our Bottom Line Takes, that "all cognitive beings also know God implicitly in any act of knowledge" (Aquinas, in Hanby). Thomas is correct. Maybe you don't see it. But bear in mind that Thomas is not on trial. You are.

Here is another point: "the theological standpoint revealed in Christianity purifies and deepens philosophy and does not negate it..." It most definitely negates certain philosophies, but we can negate most of these with pure metaphysics -- for example, the postmodern claim to absolute relativism.

It reminds me of what Slattery says about St. Augustine, who internalized "the wisdom that calls on man to travel to the utter frontiers of reason in the quest for life's ultimate meaning."

There is no intrinsic limit to what the mind can know; or, any limit we put there is manmade, itself a product of the mind. Put conversely, the mind transcends any limit it tries to place on itself, and it is in this transcendent space that we meet our creator.

Which is another reason why "the notion of a 'pure' science free from metaphysical and theological contamination is a fiction and therefore already the expression of a theology" (Hanby). Just a bad theology, or a theology unworthy of both man and God.


Anonymous said...

The thesis of the post seems to be a triple header:

Asserts there are people who do not recognize God; asserts scientism results from this lack of recognition; and asserts scientism is not accurate/valid/useful.

The overweening sentiment is an assertion, made in a sort of sideways fashion, that God is real.

I hope I got all that somewhere in the ballpark of what was intended.

I would agree to all assertions.

Our supercomputer "Honest Abe" was queried regarding the phenomenon of atheism and it stated: "Atheism may stem from a 'gated interface' (a firewall) between God and Man." Abe further opined unregulated interface between God and Man might result in a "deletion or overwriting of people's basic programming," playing havoc with things such as the will to live, social drive, reproductive drive, etc. To Honest Abe, the existence of God was "a required pre-condition for posing the question."

Anyhoo, my two cents worth.

Van Harvey said...

Because out seems as if some people missed it: "If you need it spelled out, "Intelligence separated from its supra-individual source is accompanied ipso facto by that lack of sense of proportions which one calls pride; conversely, pride prevents intelligence, when it has become rationalism, from rising to its source; it can only deny Spirit and replace it with matter..." (ibid.)."