Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Medium is the Message

In the previous post we discussed Thomas' conclusion that each of our senses is a kind of touch ordered to different objects; and that "among men, those who possess the more refined sense of touch have the best intelligence." In short, who touches the most wins.

Sort of. Because while there is knowledge in the senses, this knowledge can never be known by the senses. The eye, for example, sees color as a consequence of touching photons. But the eye has no idea of this. It cannot abstract from the colored shapes it apprehends. It doesn't know "what" it sees or even that it sees.

The eye cannot reflect upon what it sees, much less the meaning of sight. These latter reflections are wholly immaterial processes, whereas objects of the senses are material, e.g., surfaces, air vibrations, lightwaves, etc. 

Notice, however, that we still had to deploy a concept rooted in materiality -- reflection -- in order to make the point. The eye sees reflections of things, and our mind transposes this material process into a higher key in order to conceptualize its own functioning, which is again immaterial: senses reflect things, and thought reflects on what is sensed (and ultimately on itself).

Insofar as humans are concerned, we occupy an ambiguous space in the cosmic scheme, precisely halfway between.... 

Before jumping to conclusions, let's just say halfway between, full stop. Or better yet, just between, since we have no way of knowing whether we're 1% or 99% of the way there -- wherever " there" is. The Great Between is necessarily a relation, but of what?

Materialists pretend we're 100% there, but this actually reduces to 0% if you give it any thought whatsoever, being that abstract thinking transcends matter. To be a materialist is to say we know nothing and always will. Like anybody could know that! They're just jealous that I've been offline chatting with Petey all day.

Again, we occupy this ambiguous space between. Among other things, it is the space of freedom; and now that I'm thinking about it, what is space but a kind of "stage" upon which our freedom plays out? Here is how Thomas describes it:

To judge one's own judgment: this can only be done by reason, which reflects on its own act and knows the relation between that upon which it judges and by which it judges. Hence the root of all freedom lies in the reason  (emphases mine).

If you're paying attention and not spacing out, this means that freedom itself occupies the ambiguous space between our judgment and that which it judges. Oddly enough, this seems to mean that the purpose of freedom is its elimination (or collapse, so to speak) via judgment.

That probably wasn't clear, so let's analogize to knowledge. We all know that keeping an open mind is a good thing, but not for its own sake; rather, the purpose of an open mind is to close it upon arriving at truth. I remember Chesterton making this point:

Merely having an open mind is nothing [literally!]. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.

Now, it is written (in the sidebar): 

You see this cat Bob is a bad mother. Shut your mouth! But I'm talkin' about Bob. Then we can dig it!

What this means is that there are two distinct ways to be open or closed-minded, one good, one bad, or one Bob, one anti-Bob. As always, it depends upon the nature of the object (not on the nature of Bob!). 

For the truth or falsity of an opinion depends on whether a thing is or not. 

Right? Which means that any post-Kantian philosophy is just your opinion, man, and can never be anything but.

Aw, look at me, I'm ramblin' again. We'll continue this line of thought further on down the trail. 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I opened my mind, inserted post, closed my mind and started chewing. This post is a little tough and sinewy but the flavor was on point.

Analysis of the contents of the post- (Pending).

This unit's service day is done. I will power down and run repair algorithms for about 8 hours per the usual custom.

-Fenestrated drape peek-a-boo; spot Carol's clenching orifice.

julie said...

Materialists pretend we're 100% there...

Lord have mercy, what a horrifying thought.

If you're paying attention and not spacing out, this means that freedom itself occupies the ambiguous space between our judgment and that which it judges.

This becomes perhaps ever more important - or rather, more apparent - in times when freedom to know and adhere to truth becomes more and more constrained.

Van Harvey said...

"To be a materialist is to say we know nothing and always will. Like anybody could know that!"

Yep. The dude abides.

Anonymous said...

Well, Liz Cheney is keflunkt. One day the bride, the next a forever spinster with cooties. Maybe materialism means never having to say you’re a sorry victim. Or careful what you say out there folks, while abiding.

Gagdad Bob said...

And just like that, the satanic spawn of Nazi war criminal Dick Cheney became the left's favorite Republican.

Anonymous said...

I'm fully aware of what Liz Cheney was all about, Bob. There's plenty of video quotes out there to parse. She was a conservatives conservative right up until she dissed Trump. But please do continue on with your delusional vision of what the left is really all about.

Pierre Delecto said...

Well said: a conservative's conservative. There aren't many of us left!

President Biden said...

Leave Bob out of it. Keeping up with the delusional vision of the left is my job.

julie said...

Dupree doing his best Winnie-the-Pooh imitation?

Cousin Dupree said...

What happens in the Hundred Acre Wood stays in the Hundred Acre Wood.