Yes, it exists. It's sitting right here in my lap. I guess I began compiling these nuggets of joy around the time the world ended last March. In one sense the effort was inspired by Dávila, but I began recording these thoughtlets long before ever running into him. Most of them are located in books, except I must have 10,000 or more books in my library, meaning they are quite dispersed.
For example, let me grab a random book that I read, say, 30 or 40 years ago and haven't looked at since. If it was a decent or at least thought-provoking book, it is liable to contain notes to myself. These notes aren't usually something from the book per se, but something that was triggered by the book in my own noggin. A spark from the fire, so to speak. Plagiarism once removed.
Bear in mind that 35 years ago I was still an idiot, more or less, so many if not most of the early aphorisms are likely to be false, stupid, obvious, or rendered null & void by subsequent discoveries. But I am particularly interested in any bobservation that points to or hints at my present outlook -- as if I were able to see directly into my future self, even if I still had to go through a great deal in order to arrive here, i.e., to eliminate all the noise, static, and accidental accretions.
Looking back on it, there are only a handful of thinkers who have been with me the whole way. Most of the early ones have gotten off the bus, while others were picked up en route. Michael Polanyi was right there with me when I set foot on the bus. His last book, Meaning, was published in 1975. I must have read it in the early 1980s, and it is full of urgent memos to myself, some more obscure than others.
Here's one that says Marxism is the rationalization of human appetites. While that is true, I didn't truly understand what I was talking about, since I was still a liberal back then and wouldn't grasp the implications for another fifteen years or so. I didn't have a completely consistent and integrated worldview, both horizontally and vertically.
Come to think of it, I'm still working on that, at least around the edges. I'm always discovering important ideas and principles that I should have understood at 18. But no one taught them to me, least of all in college, of all places.
For example, yesterday I was reading Fulton Sheen's Philosophy of Science. In chapter 8 he has a brilliantly clear and concise explanation of the principle of causality. It's nothing I didn't know already, but I only knew it implicitly. Sheen draws the explicit from the implicit, such that now I understand why the principle of causality is and must be metaphysical as opposed to empirical or rational (in the Kantian sense).
Anyway, back to Polanyi. And I hope this exercise isn't too self-indulgent. I'm genuinely curious to see if there are any vertical threads that can be traced all the way back to the beginning, i.e., when my mind unexpectedly came on line. For whatever reason, the light switched on in my early 20s, and I have this notion that light is light, i.e., that the substance of intelligence is truth itself. Therefore, when the light appeared, so too did the truth.
But it's somewhat like digging for gold, I suppose. As in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, you happen upon something glittering in the dirt. Then the real work begins, of digging down and extracting the gold from the worthless material it's mixed with. Same.
Not to mention all the fool's gold! A basic education ought to at least provide the student with a means for discerning between the two. I didn't acquire that in a principled way until I was in my 40s. Certainly I had intuitions and visions, but these must be anchored in perennial truths that cannot not be.
The act of understanding is more important than what is understood.
Bing! This is indeed a critical meta-truth, since the very existence of understanding is full of metaphysical implications that I'm still discovering, or at least confirming and fine-tuning. For example, yesterday I read that
Truth as an attribute of being implies a thinker. Whatever is can be thought of, and is in this sense co-extensive and identical with being. All reality is therefore intelligible; it has meaning. Mind and reality are not unrelated. There is an intercommunication between them....
When the mind knows, it recognizes conformity of the thought and the thing. This is just another way of saying it knows the thing as it truly is (Sheen).
Ultimately we might say that to understand anything in fact is to potentially understand everything in principle. Which is why it is correct to say that "The act of understanding is more important than what is understood" even if I "saw" this truth before I explicitly understood why it must be true.