Recall where we left off with our speculations: it is as if
God had broken the coin of his Infinity in two, holding on to the positive side Himself and giving us the negative side, then launching us into the world of finites with the mission to search until we have matched our half-coin with his (Clarke, emphasis mine).
This reminds me of the Eastern Orthodox view (or at least that's where I ran into it), of the ontological distinction between the image and likeness in man. The image is our divine potential, while the likeness is our ongoing actualization of this potential.
It is as if this polarization results in a kind of energy; or you could say that the energy fuels the polarization. Either way, there is vertical aspiration at one (our) end, grace (which you might call God's ex-piration) at the other. This up&down movement is actually a continuous spiral.
Now let's see what Fr. Ripperger has to say in his introduction to our subject. He writes that "the human intellect is a mirror image of the ontological order," and a mirror is -- this is me speaking -- totally passive, receptive, and "empty." At least if it's a clean and functioning mirror. And not hidden away somewhere in total darkness, with no light to reflect.
Can a human mirror reflect darkness? Have you been to college? Do you ever watch the news?
Look: this is a very complicated subject with a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous, and a whole lotta strands to keep in my head, but the pedantic padre affirms that the intellect
initially starts out as a tabula rasa, i.e., it lacks all conceptual knowledge. While initially it may lack any conceptual knowledge, nevertheless it is a certain infinite power in the sense that it is in potency with respect to all forms (emphasis mine).
A footnote to this passage specifies that "By 'infinite' is not implied that it is actually infinite like the intellect of God, but that there is no limit to what it can know regarding that which is in its natural capacity to know."
The point is, God's actual infinitude is mirrored in our potential infinitude -- a potential that can never be fully actualized. Is that clear? Yes, it's a strange place to live, but here we are.
Now I want to flip back to Clarke, who writes that every finite is
by its very nature a pointer toward the Infinite. It is an image, a road marker, that necessarily carries the dynamism of the mind beyond itself in a search for intelligibility that can end only with an actual Infinite, from which all finite degrees of participation ultimately proceed.
There it is again: the open spiral of infinitude-to-finite and back to infinitude. In which, as human beings, we may knowingly participate.
We have reached, therefore, the unique, ultimate, infinite Source of all being, the ultimate mystery of Plenitude that is also the magnet and final goal of the entire dynamism of the human spirit, both intellect and will.
The final goal. Does this mean we're done? Yes and no. Yes, because the post is finished. No, because we're always just getting started. For
our dynamism for the infinite turns out to be a remarkably eloquent reverse image and pointer toward God as He is in Himself, beyond all possible finites (Clarke).
And our dynamism for the infinite is itself infinite: ʘ --> O and back again:
this movement of the mind from from the many to the One reflects what seems to be the most basic structure of the human mind's constant quest for intelligibility in all fields. To understand is to unify: it means first to discern the parts of anything clearly, but finally to unify them into a meaningful whole in itself and then with all else that we know. He who does not understand something as one, St. Thomas says, understands nothing.
Onething or nothing, One Cosmos or no cosmos, O or Ø.