Schuon characterizes philosophy as the science of fundamental principles -- a science that operates via an intuition which "perceives" as opposed to a reason that can only "conclude." And of course, reason can only conclude based upon premises that must be furnished from another source.
In short, there is no way around an extra-rational judgment; the attempt to ground truth in reason alone quickly ends in tautology. It's one reason why mathematics cannot map reality, a la Gödel.
Having said that, as some extra-rational judgments surpass reason, others fall short of it; the first is common sense, the second common nonsense. And both common sense and common nonsense are embedded in culture. It's why, for example, people leave college more stupid than when they entered. Unless they avoided the humanities.
As Schuon puts it, "There is no faith without any knowledge, nor knowledge without any faith." That's what you call an ineluctable fact. Any failure on your part to assent to its truth renders you at least somewhat blind, for "Faith is the intuition of the transcendent; unbelief stems from the layer of ice that covers the heart and excludes this intuition."
Now, there are two related kinds of extra-rational judgment; let us call one "intuition," the other "faith." Each of these is a mode of perception of invisible realities.
To put it conversely, in the absence of faith and intuition, we wouldn't be able to see anything other than what we see physically, and would thereby be reduced to animality; or, we would see surfaces -- appearances -- only, with no access to underlying realities, whether scientific, aesthetic, or religious.
Faith is the implicit perception of an impending (vertical) discovery: not only will it be "rewarded" with the knowledge of which it is a foreshadow, it is already a kind of knowledge, in the same sense that a flower turning toward the light is already a kind of prelinguistic "knowledge of the sun." In the words of the Aphorist, Faith is not an irrational assent to a proposition; it is a perception of a special order of realities.
Or, to quote Schuon, "The mystery of faith is in fact the possibility of an anticipatory perception in the absence of its content; that is, faith makes present its content by accepting it already, before the perception properly so-called." Faith is never static, but always on-the-way.
It seems to me that faith may be thought of as a kind of formalized intuition, whereas intuition is an informal faith.
In a way, these two have the same relationship as revelation and intellect: somewhere Schuon equates revelation to exteriorized (divine) intellect, and intellect to an interiorized revelation. Indeed, the very existence of the intellect may be the most accessible miracle available to man. It is the last thing you'd expect to emerge from lifeless matter.
The point is, a small minority of human beings are "intellectual" in the proper sense of the term, but there are countless cognitive narcissists who practice a debased intellectualism, AKA the tenured. Their childish grandiosity causes them to conflate their impoverished reality tunnels with reality.
These tunnels are held together more by consensus than fact, e.g., Climate Change. As such, they are brittle at their core, for which reason "a single naïve question is sometimes enough to make an entire system come tumbling down" (NGD).
But the Good News is that God is fair, such that the non-intellectual nevertheless has access to the highest wisdom available to the (genuine) intellectual, via faith. In other words, God would not deprive a man of saving knowledge for wholly contingent reasons, such as a few IQ points. Besides, as often as not, "A high I.Q. is indicative of distinguished mediocrity." Intelligence can be its own worst enemy, and Satan has been known to exploit this weakness in man. To put it mildly.
To be clear, the intellect is by no means superior to faith, for, to paraphrase Schuon, the latter involves intuition of the same "intellectual object" that is the reality behind appearances. Both are ways to penetrate more deeply, ultimately from surface to ur-Face. For If God were not a person, He would have died some time ago (NGD).
Faith is "to say 'yes' to the truth of God and of immortality – this truth which we carry in the depths of our heart," and "to see concretely what apparently is abstract." It is "a priori a natural disposition of the soul to admit the supernatural; it is therefore essentially an intuition of the supernatural, brought about by Grace."
Not to grind gears too abruptly, but all of the above is just by way of a pre-ramble to discussion of another book I read over the weekend, Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea. One might be tempted to think the ideas presented above are excessively abstract or impractical, but it turns out they are the very essence of common sense.
Recall Madison's gag about how government -- or, let's say "political science" -- is "the greatest of all reflections on human nature." The reason this is so is that if we don't get human nature right, then our political system will be either stillborn or monstrous; and if we don't get our political system right, then it will produce stillborn or monstrous humans.
It reminds me of that line about how the problem with capitalism is capitalists, whereas the problem with socialism is socialism. Analogously, the problem with Christianity is Christians, whereas the problem with Islam certainly appears to be Islam, given how every majority Muslim country is such a trainwreck when it isn't actively blowing up the train.
Back to my main point, which is that America was founded upon an ontological common sense that cannot be surpassed, only denied, eroded, or attacked. Which is what the left does, all day long, especially since Woodrow Wilson, who said as much quite explicitly (for progressives were more honest about their agenda in those days, although Beto is coming close).
Wilson was nothing short of an American Monster. As far as he was concerned, "the Founders' propositions were only relevant to the time of the Founders," and "because history had moved on those propositions had been rendered obsolete."
Said our first intellectual present -- the first with a Ph.D. (Recall what was said above about the childishly omniscient but brittle reality tunnels of the tenured.)
In other words, for this distinguished mediocretin, what the Founders regarded as "self-evident truths" amounted to nothing more than historically conditioned illusions and/or expedients.
Let Wilson progsplain it to you rubes: although "a great deal of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual," we now know that this was just a lot of "vague sentiment and pleasing speculation." Thanks to the pretentious bloviating of Hegel, we know better: the state is the March of God on Earth.
"For Wilson, history had moved on and, as a result, the thinking of the Founders had become, as he says in the quote above, 'nonsense.'"
What kind of person presumes to reduce the undeniable truths that permit human flourishing to mere nonsense? A demonically inspired monster, that's who.
The "self-evident truths" propounded by the Founders were the precise opposite of historically conditioned beliefs subject to future revision by our progressive betters. What they meant by the term "self-evident" was that the power to understand these truths was available to all human beings, by virtue of being human. They are "no sooner understood than they are believed," the reason being that "they 'carry the light of truth itself'" (Arthur Herman, in Curry).
To be continued...