Here are some timeless bon mots from Thomas, which may or may not provoke additional commentary on my part, depending on your luck. I've selected them on the basis of being 1) the foundation, or beginning of proper thinking, and 2) the end of thinking. How can they be both? Let's find out!
Our intellect in understanding is extended to infinity.
In other words, there is nothing man cannot understand, supposing it is in accordance with reason; things not in accordance with reason are called absurd, and even God can't understand the absurd, e.g., a "square circle" or "a woman in a man's body."
On the one hand, the intellect is (potentially) in conformity to everything that exists; or, you might say that it is "pre-conformed" to existence. Everything out there is just waiting and hoping to be known by us!
At the same time, nothing in existence conforms to the infinitude of the intellect, which is the last thing we would expect of a wholly material and contingent being. For which reason Thomas says
This ordering of the intellect to infinity would be vain and senseless if there were no infinite object of knowledge.
This infinite object of knowledge is also the object of infinite knowledge, which folks in the celestial lOʘp typically call God.
Here things get a little tricky, for the object of infinite knowledge is also the object of absolute knowledge, or knowledge of the Absolute. This implies that all knowledge reduces to knowledge of the One (who is surely simple but not simplistic). What? Schuon has asked me to hold his beverage:
The idea that the Supreme Principle is both Absolute Reality and, for that very reason, Infinite Possibility... contains everything, notably the necessity for a universal Manifestation.
Or the manifestation of a universe, if you like. It didn't have to be this universe, but it has to be something, for it is written: Creators gonna create, and the Creator who doesn't create is a contradiction in terms.
Principles. As we've said in the past, there is nothing quite like a principle for tidying up around the Intellect and its Cosmos, and what else is there? About them, Thomas writes that "The principles of reason are those which are conformed to nature," i.e., to the nature of things. In a word, to reality.
How do we know a Principle when we find one, especially if we've never seen one before? For the simple reason that "it is not even possible to think it can be false" (Thomas). They are self-evident, meaning that they cannot be understood without being believed (in other words, if you understand them, your mind spontaneously assents to them).
Okay, the principle of non-contradiction, which is equally the principle of identity. This may not sound like much, but it is the root of anything we can say of being and reality: a thing either is or is not, and these are truth (if it is) and falsehood (if it is not).
Bottom line: being is, things are, and we can know them. This reduces to intelligence and intelligibility, which further reduces to Absolute Intellect and Infinite Intelligibility. If there's something better than that, God keeps it for himselves.
Come to think of it, there is something better, or at least higher, or maybe that's not the best way to express it. It's the idea that there is a Beyond-Being.
In the traditional view, God is Absolute Being or Pure Act. But there's another way of looking at it: that Being itself is a function of Beyond-Being. The natural born mystic will have no difficulty swallowing this, where as the more conventional type may prefer to stop chewing with Being.
As I've mentioned before, I prefer to think of it as a -- or the -- eternal complementarity between Being and Beyond-Being.
Moreover, I would situate the Trinity on the Being side, but this doesn't in any way diminish it; rather, it is to say that the Trinity is the first fruit of Beyond Being, with which it is in an eternally creative and renewing trialogue on the horizon of Absolute and Infinite. It's why things are never boring.
Since things tend to be fractally organized in this cosmos, is it possible to find some kind of trinitarian analogue within Beyond-Being? Yes, in the sense that anything that Is must first be Possible. Such mysteries are above our praygrade, and it is somewhat vain to think about things which thought can never adequately formulate, for the simple reason that the Formless surpasses any Form we might give it.
The best we can do -- or the furthest we can go -- is to say with Schuon that there is a primordial trinity (leaving aside the specifically Christian formulation) that comes down to the Absolute, the Infinite, and the Perfect. Everything that is participates in these.
Absoluteness of the Real, infinitude of the Possible, perfection of the Good; these are the "initial dimensions" of the Divine Order.
Just for kicks, what if we were to attempt to translight this into Christian terms?
Let's say the Absolute is the Father. "The Absolute is infinite; therefore it radiates, and in radiating, it projects itself; the content of this projection being the Good." This latter sounds to me like Logos or Son, and the radiation between reminds me of the Spirit.
All in a manner of speaking.