--Thinking is often reduced to inventing reasons to doubt what is evident.
--Four or five invulnerable philosophical propositions allow us to make fun of the rest.
--Man goes out hunting less for truths than for loopholes.
--The lesser truths tend to eclipse the highest truths.
And one of my all time favorites -- indeed, a guiding principle of the book I'm supposedly working on:
--In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter (Dávila).
Also, I might remind the reader of a book we've discussed in the past, Robert Spitzer's Ten Universal Principles.
Now, Sr. Dávila exaggerates just a bit, which he is wont to do in the pursuit of inducing a guffah HA! experience in the reader. The larger orthoparadoxical point is that we often need to know a little in order to understand a lot; and conversely, that a great deal of knowledge can interfere with deeper understanding. Often this is because, as Dávila says
--In order for a multitude of diverse terms to coexist, it is necessary to place them on different levels. A hierarchical ordering is the only one that neither expels nor suppresses them.
Which is what he means when he says "Any straight line leads straight to a hell."
So, the first principle is God -- or O -- but this principle obviously isn't on the same level as the others, but rather, is the reason why there are any principles at all: no Principle, no principles; no Creator, no creation; no Absolute, no relative; no Person, no persons. Etc.
In short, hierarchy. Note that the hierarchy is not a duality, or else we are in Gnostic/Manichean land. And what's wrong with that? Well, it reduces to two ultimate principles, which is impossible because self-contradictory. But nor do we posit an absolute monism that excludes relativity. Rather, for reasons we may or may not get into with this post, we posit a trinitarian godhead, such that the many is always in the One, and vice versa.
On to the old post:
In The Common Mind we read of "the attempt to integrate the intellect with the whole personality, and in so doing oppose intellectualism." This would be an example of a Cosmic Principle, but difficult to express in the form of a Top Ten list, for it implies, and is implied by, so many other truths.
Such as the principle that man is in the image and likeness of the Creator; that man -- uniquely among creatures -- spans the vertical spectrum from the lowest to the highest planes, for better and/or worse; that knowledge is em-bodied and in-carnated; or even prior to this, that man is adequate to reality, not vis-a-vis his fragmented and desiccated ego-mind, but with his unified soul-intellect.
Conversely, mere intellectualism is the way of the tenured, of the infertile egghead who imagines (in the lower sense) that truth can be contained within an ideology, e.g., scientism, feminism, progressivism, etc. ("The learned fool has a wider field to practice his folly." --NGD).
Only with higher intellect do we preserve the essential "otherness" of primordial truth, which is always relational and therefore personal. Anything (hierarchically) short of this is idolatry pure and simple. And idolatry places a wall between person and God. Pure and simple².
Recall Mayor Giuliani's theory of aesthetics: if I can do it, it isn't art. Similarly, if we can grasp it with our shriveled tenureMind, it cannot possibly be true. Moreover -- and this is a somewhat advanced aphorism, as it assumes a degree of activated CoonVision -- It is enough to know nothing more than that certain beings have adopted an idea to know that it is false.
Such as? Oh, such as the ten supremely creepy beings on the debate stage last night. My discarnate friend Petey spontaneously knows that "what" they say -- as disturbing as it is -- isn't as disturbing as "who" they are.
Now, Darwin, who was far more intellectually honest than his latter day wackolytes, was rightly puzzled by the question of why -- i.e., by virtue of what principle -- we should ever trust the blithering cognitions of a modified ape. For if an ape is capable of knowing truth, this is no mere ape but an entirely novel cosmic category irreducible to random genetic error. Look, if you've discovered the truth of man, you are more than a man, let alone ape. How to explain the explanation (or better, explainer)?
Which is again why even a literalist reading of Genesis is more true than a strict Darwinian approach, because the former is true where it counts, i.e., on the human plane. Indeed, it preserves our humanness where Darwinism necessarily unexplains and eliminates it, such that if metaphysical Darwinism is true, it is false.
Reason only permits us to proceed from the known to the unknown. Thus rationalism begins with what it needs to explain, that is, the prior human ability to know. Therefore, it seems to me that two of our Top Ten principles must surely be that reality is intelligible and that man may know it. But these are really two sides of the same principle, which is Creation, or Rational Creator (or Person).
Therefore, in my view, to even talk about "truth" is to implicitly acknowledge the Creator. The problem with the left -- and with its retarded sister, scientism -- is that it neither acknowledges its own first principles nor follows them all the way to their inevitable conclusions, which is why they are so free to engage in such sloppy thinking. Dávila:
The theses of the left are rationalizations that are carefully suspended before reaching the argument that dissolves them.
In The Common Mind, (lower case r) reason is opposed to common sense, the latter of which "perceives truth, or commands belief, not by progressive argumentation, but by an instantaneous, instinctive, and irresistible impulse; derived neither from education nor from habit, but from nature..."
In other words, transnatural intellection is to the human being what natural instinct is to the animal. Among other things, it is a homing instinct that orients us to the truth -- or source of truth -- that precedes us and of which we are ultimately constituted.
Moore continues: "That which is self-evident can neither be proved nor disproved by reason or logic" -- for example, our self-evidently free will. To deny free will is only to affirm it, since a truth not freely arrived at is no truth at all.
There may be an even more general principle behind the ideas discussed in this post. Perhaps it is this: that reality both Is and is anterior to our knowing it. But in knowing this we know that knowledge is always bound up with this prior reality in which we participate through assimilation.
Correct thinking requires a kind of negation. To paraphrase Russell Kirk, conservatism is the negation of ideology. Leftism is a parody of this, in that it is the negation of principle (or the blind acceptance of unarticulated principles). There is a big difference between a political animal and an animal with politics. Only the former can know and understand this self-evident principle.