Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Endless Dialogue of Mind and World

Change my mind:

If science is just a common sense approach to the material world, meta-science (AKA metaphysics) is just a commonsense approach to the transphysical world.

Now, what makes no sense is to conflate or collapse these levels, and apply science to meta-science or deduce science from meta-science. The former is done by our contemporary evangelists of atheism, while the latter was attempted by certain ancient and medieval thinkers. These two errors are empiricism and idealism, respectively, but we have a better way.

To live as an empiricist...

Well, first of all, this is impossible. Rather, one can only pretend to do so, as to be human is to have spontaneous in-sight into essences -- the cosmic interior -- and there's not a damn thing we can do about it short of having severe autism, a catastrophic stroke, or advanced tenure. It would be analogous to claiming there is no such thing as light, and then proving the point by gouging out one's eyes.

At the other end, you can pretend like Hegel that the ideal is real, until you stub your toe or even just have a real job. Working with one's hands is a cure for being intellectually lazy with one's head, for which reason Marxism only works for the ethereal layabouts of academia. For, to paraphrase the Aphorist, the doctrinaire leftist is an angelic visitor impervious to earthly experiences.

Which is nice work if you can get it. It is comforting to Know without having to first consult with reality. Indeed, this is precisely why ideology is so popular and will always be popular: the intellectually impoverished will always be with us, and the higher indoctrination of college only aggravates the problem. Ideology is just the new name for philosophical idealism, and

Ideologies were invented so that men who do not think can give opinions (Dávila).

It's easy to confuse Christian faith with idealism, but they are quite opposite. You might say that in Christianity, the ideal becomes material so that the material might become ideal:

[A]ny explanation of human knowledge that does not take into account the material as well as the spiritual side of man's being is false from the start and would be thrown out of court by St. Thomas....

[J]ust as matter can share with spirit the glorious task of producing man, so the senses can share with intellect the equally glorious task of producing man's ideas (Brennan).

We are all "dualists" in the sense that any idiot can see that there is a difference between mind and matter. It all comes down to how we resolve the difference.

Or rather, we can either resolve the difference or simply deny them, as do materialists and idealists of various kinds. But the best way to resolve or integrate the two is to do what we can't help doing anyway, which is to live in the dialectical space between the two, for it is where we find the living fruit of truth:

the knowledge of man springs from the concerted action of his senses and intellect. In such a view, there is need of material and immaterial powers in order to give a complete account of his ideas.... If the soul cannot develop its powers unless it be linked with a body, neither can reason unfold unless it be fed with the perceptions and images of the senses (Brennan).

We have no choice but to accept this sober truth, regardless of how pleasant it is. Barron:

It is not a matter of privileging either subject or object but rather of seeng the essential link between them, born of the unbreakable bond between knower and known, which itself is grounded in the even more basic connection between divine knower and creaturely existence

God is to image as is intellect to thing (or knower to known). You might be tempted to think that the latter terms -- image and thing -- are "passive," but they're not, for the telos -- the upward movement -- of image is likeness, while the telos of a thing is our knowledge of it: there is a "mutually enhancing coinherence of objective intelligibility and the subjective act of intelligence" (Barron).

Thus, "the categories of subject and object have to be transcended in favor of a unified notion of experience" (ibid.).

Or, put it this way: what are the most irreducible realities to which we are always subject?

Let's see... experience... presence... being. Beneath it all, what is consciousness? Just spitballing it here, but it seems to me that it is the experienced presence of being. And being won't shut up! It is the ground from which more specific knowledge -- knowledge of things -- is ceaselessly arising.

We'll leave you with an aphorism before signing off:

The life of the intelligence is a dialogue between the personalism of spirit and the impersonalism of reason (Dávila).

5 comments:

julie said...

Working with one's hands is a cure for being intellectually lazy with one's head

Which explains an awful lot about the push for getting more young people into colleges when they would be better served learning a trade...

Gagdad Bob said...

I have an overeducated brother who is really just a pompous musclehead. He would have been a fine craftsman, but not with words. His prose has the sonorous quality of a toolbox dropped onto the floor.

Daniel T said...

Well, first of all, this is impossible. Rather, one can only pretend to do so, as to be human is to have spontaneous in-sight into essences

You would think so. But I seem to speak with a surprising number of persons who are desperate to keep up that pretension and convince me they aren't persons at all. What do you say to the man who doesn't believe he is a man?

Gagdad Bob said...

Oink.

Van Harvey said...

"Ideologies were invented so that men who do not think can give opinions (Dávila)."

In practice, yep. In actuality, and I just posted on this, Ideology's creation was worse than that, it was created by a Frenchmen (duh) named Antoine Destutt de Tracy, who considered himself not only a thinker in "Political Economy" (and his materialist ideas had a lot to do with pushing the field to morph into the later Pro-Regressive field of 'Economics'), but he also considered himself fit to save Logic by reforming it away from is classical roots, and he coined the term "Ideology" in 1796, to be a "'Science!' of Ideas".

Our own Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of his, translated his main work on Political Economy (including his gibberish on 'Ideology') into English, and got it published and promoted all over America. de Tracy's been mostly forgotten, but his 'Ideology' gave respectable cover for lopping off Ethics & the like from 'serious thinking', and of course the result of that ensured that "... men who do not think can give opinions...".