Now, anything below the realm of metaphysics -- you'll excuse me, but I'm thinking this through for the first time -- must be for the sake of something else. For example, right now I'm typing. Why? Don't laugh, but I can't think of any other reason but to seek and communicate wisdom. Okay. Why do that? I don't know. Must be for its own sake.
It's certainly not for any of the usual suspects: money, fame, power, status, the fine Colombian, the Cuervo Gold, etc.
In an essay called Mystery and Philosophy, Pieper makes the subtle point that
wisdom cannot be the property of man for the very reason that it is sought after for its own sake; what we can fully possess cannot satisfy us as something sought after for its own sake; the only wisdom that is sought after for its own sake is the kind that man is not able to have as a possession.
In short, -- in reference to why I'm doing this -- I am seeking something I can never possess, and trying to communicate something I don't have. There's a name for that: a fool's errand, or wild nous chase.
"Philosophical questioning," writes Pieper, "aims at comprehending, at ultimate knowledge." However,
not only do we not possess such knowledge, but we are even, on principle, incapable of possessing it, and therefore we will also not possess it in the future.
Okay then. We've never had it, we don't have it, and we'll never get it. Anything else before we wrap this up? Have we learned nothing in 15 years of blogging? What were we hoping to find, anyway? And how can such a vacuous exercise result in so much writing about it? That's a lot of posts, but 3,423 x 0 is still 0.
Yes, but O is not 0.
Big Infinite difference!
Imagine if we could gather together all the poets, painters, and musicians, and tell them, "look, you've been at this for 50,000 years, but I don't see that you're any closer to possessing Beauty. Now, go out there and bring back Beauty once and for all!"
Ah, but the pursuit of beauty is another one of those activities that is for its own sake. What Pieper says of wisdom can be equally applied to it: beauty sought after for its own sake can never be possessed. One can try, but it is a sort of category error, for it is nothing less than the attempt to contain infinitude wihin finitude (or transcendence in immanence).
Of which I am guilty, with an explanation, or at least rationalization. I am an audiophile and collector, or, if you want to cut to the chase, you could say that I don't have a hobby, rather, my hobby has me. Well, first of all, a man needs a hobby. Second, I see what I'm doing. I see right through myself -- occasionally -- so a I don't pretend it has any end, or that I can cure the habit by indulging in it. I'll never have everything I want, if only because I want to want. It's pretty harmless, at least compared to cocaine.
As is the blog. It also goes nowhere, with no hope of ever arriving there. If a final Answer were attainable, this would imply that
the thing is known to the full extent that it is knowable in itself. In other words: the adequate answer to the philosophical question would have to be an answer which exhausts the subject, a statement in which the knowability of the object in question is exhausted to such an extent that nothing purely knowable remains but only the known (Pieper).
In the end, O = O. But we are not O. This is why God can never be known: because he is only infinitely knowable.
Thus the claim to have found the "formula of the world" is without hesitation to be called unphilosophical. It is of the essence of philosophy that it cannot be a "closed system" -- "closed" in the sense that the essential reality of the world could be adequately mirrored in it....
The deeper one's positive knowledge of the structure of the world the more one becomes clear that reality is a mystery. The reason for inexhaustibility is that the world is creature, i.e., that it has its origin in God's incomprehensible, creative knowledge (ibid.).
Simultaneously clear and obscure; Joyce called it clearobscure, a pun on the intermingling of shadow and light in chiarascuro (clear-dark). So I hope that was sufficiently obscure. I sometimes have a tendency to be too clear.