The first is the unwieldy and dryasdust Introduction to the Science of Mental Health, which exhaustively and exhaustingly lays out the Christian/Thomistic view of our predicament. I'm about halfway through with that one. It's somewhat slow-going, like reading a medication insert that goes on forever.
The second is called The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous. I'm only 20 pages into this one, which comes at it -- or us, rather -- from a strictly evolutionary standpoint.
Now, both of these can't be true. And yet, let's assume they are. How can this be? We can't simultaneously have a universal human nature if what we call "human nature" is just a contingent adaptation to everchanging environmental circumstances. Can we?
The challenge is in figuring out how both perspectives can possibly be true. Of course, there are levels of truth, so that's one way to pull it off. Still, we want details: how exactly can contradictory truths be true on a deeper or higher level?
So, that's what we're working on at the moment, and I first have to get further into the books before putting them into the cosmic blender. And as usual, I have other responsibilities gumming up the works, including my dreaded semiannual continuing education requirements and the upcoming MLB playoffs.
Therefore, if things are a bit slow around here, that's my excuse. I'll leave off with a few aphorisms which may point the way upward and provide a bit of preluminary light for the journey:
Two contradictory philosophical theses complete each other, but only God knows how.
Every truth is a tension between contradictory evidences that claim our simultaneous allegiance.
Truths do not contradict each other except when they get out of order.
It is not the false idea that is the dangerous one, but the partially correct one.
The philosopher who adopts scientific notions has predetermined his conclusions.
There are sciences that can be taught and others we can only learn. Natural sciences, social sciences.
Whoever appeals to any science in order to justify his basic convictions inspires distrust of his honesty or his intelligence
Science, when it finishes explaining everything, but being unable to explain the consciousness that creates it, will not have explained anything.
Without philosophy, the sciences do not know what they know.
The Christian who is disturbed by the “results” of science does not know what Christianity is or what science is.
The doctrines that explain the higher by means of the lower are appendices of a magician’s rule book (Dávila).