Schuon has a way of reducing complex realities to their essence, but this essence then rebounds and causes its own explosion(s), expanding outward (and inward), as it were.
I suppose it's not dissimilar to scientific theories -- for example, the theory of natural selection, which reduces the entire biosphere to a simple formula, which then leads to explosive insights -- to seeing the world in a new way.
I studied a great many psychological theories back in the day, but none were as pithy -- nor as essential -- as this: that man is intelligence, will, and sentiment, and that's about it. Actually, that's only a partial description, because any mammal has intelligence, will, and emotion/sentiment. What then sets apart and defines man?
Let's begin with the first, intelligence -- after all, we are the sapiential homo, i.e., the wise ape. What makes us wise, at least in potential?
One could characterize human intelligence in several ways: it is objective, i.e., capable of detachment and disinterest; it is transcendent, i.e., immaterial, or distinct from the matter it considers; and it is total, i.e., capable of comprehending anything susceptible to comprehension, from the empirical below to the rational, mathematical, and principial above.
These capabilities are -- literally in this case -- a quantum leap above the animal domain. Problem, is, orthodox biology does not permit of leaps, so there must (for it) be a continuum between ape and man, and therefore (to take just one example) embodied intelligence and transcendent, disembodied intelligence.
But that's a tough argument to make. As we've said before, devotees of scientism like to ridicule the "God of the gaps," but a much more serious problem is their primitive god of gaplessness.
Why? Because the gaps are ineluctably real, and you can't make them go away by a simple wave of the tongue. Some of the more important gaps are between necessary being and contingent existence, matter and life, and life and consciousness.
It reminds me of what Justice Scalia said about people who argue for a constitutional "middle path," say, between a Gorsuch and a Ginsburg. What, to paraphrase Scalia's rhetorical question, is the compromise between what the Constitution says and what liberals want it to say?
It would have to be a modest wish or a slight fantasy or a mild delusion. This doesn't actually eliminate the gap between Is and Want, or Truth and Desire, but just papers it over with what Bion calls hallucinosis:
In other words, the patient... has to deny the existence of an external reality that restricts, oppresses and threatens him with the pain of frustration. Therefore, the only "reality" in which he "believes" is the "reality" generated by himself through the method of hallucinosis.
Indeed, this is why Bion maintained that only the Lie requires a thinker, whereas Truth simply is. This idea made perfect sense to me when I first encountered it some three decades ago, and now I know why. For The truth does not need the adherence of man in order to be certain (Dávila).
Man, for example, is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights. This will always be true, even should the left stack the Supreme Court with enough Ginsburgs to deny it.
Other aphorisms come at the same truth from different angles:
Truth is never a definitive conquest. It is always a position that has to be defended. This is our vocation and our lot. On the positive side, they say a defensive war is always easier than an offensive war.
The truth does not share the defeat of its defenders. This is why the left must be tirelessly hyperactive, even in "victory." See how quickly the redefinition of marriage morphed into the transgender nonsense.
Man goes out hunting less for truths than for loopholes. Again, this requires a thinker, or even worse -- a constitutional scholar!
Truths are whatever any imbecile refutes. As you no doubt know from speaking with liberals, A few lines are enough to demonstrate a truth. Not even a library is enough to refute an error.
Truly, you can't win, unless you are dealing with a person who loves truth for its own sake, but then you're getting into the third human trait mentioned above, disinterested sentiment. For It is the truth of an idea in which we must rejoice, not in its victory. Because no victory lasts.
To be continued...