Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Because We Said So

Our friend Nicolás reminds us... of a lot of things, but in this case we're thinking of how our first and last Principle must rest on a final Because I said so, or in other words, on authority. However, much depends upon the reliability or prestige of the authority in question, and afterwards by the fruits of our faith in it: if we're wrong, reality will let us know.

Irrespective of how sublime or mundane your Principle of principles, it can never be proved absolutely, and therefore must be taken on faith. Both the world and God are always what they are, no matter what we say or believe they are, nor can we ever know a single thing with God's certitude. But if life weren't a Mystery, we'd be plunged into endless boredom:

Happily, the world is inexplicable. (What kind of world would it be if it could be explained by man?)

On the one hand, science can can tell us what is, but it can never tell us what isness is, nor what ought to be, not forgetting what we ought to do about it. For
Being only falsifiable, a scientific thesis is never certain but is merely current.

And ultimately,

Science, when it finishes explaining everything, but being unable to explain the consciousness that creates it, will not have explained anything.

To be precise, it will have failed to explain what we most wish to explain, which is to say, the Explainer, AKA the person. Is there a merely rational way to do so? Yes and no: yes because there is no better explanation, no because no explanation is fully sufficient, unless you are very, very incurious:

The man does not escape from his prison of paradoxes except by means of a vertical act of faith.

And let's suppose that

Faith is not knowledge of the object. But communication with it.

Along these lines, Clarke writes of how the acceptance of an explicitly Christian philosophy can advance philosophy as such. 

Put conversely, left to its own devices, philosophy can by definition only advance so far and no farther, since -- among other limitations -- any form of rationalism will necessarily be enclosed in its own premises a la Gödel: garbage in, tenure out:

To say that something is “rational,” without indicating in relation to what postulate, is a meaningless statement.

Many if not most folks believe they're being rational when they're merely being absurcular, even putting a childishly absolute faith in their faithlessness. You know the type.

On the other hand, revelation can open up

a new possibility in the nature of being that we might never have thought of ourselves from our limited human experience, but which, once opened up, is so illuminating that it now shines on its own and as an insight into the nature of being and persons that makes many things suddenly fall into place whose depths we could not fathom before.

Let there be Light -- the blindingly obvious kind: 

[T]he doctrine of the Trinity is a uniquely powerful source of illumination in both the philosophy of being and the philosophy of the person.

Speaking as a psychologist, every metapsychology (i.e., the first principles of psychology) short of this either assumes the existence of the person or explains this existence away. But in reality, the reason why we are the way we are is precisely because the Supreme Reality is the way it is they are. Apologies if we threepeat ourselves, but what if our destiny -- or telos -- 

is to fulfill the image latent within us and to draw it out into manifest likeness.... This is the deep finality built into the very nature of every finite being as spirit, endowed with intellect and will.

Thus, human personhood involves an intrinsic element of self-transcendence, something Schuon often highlights, for example, 

The paradox of the human condition is that nothing could be more contrary to us than the requirement to transcend ourselves, and yet nothing could be more essentially ourselves than the core of this requirement or the fruit of this self-overcoming.

And obviously, no God = no transcendence. Or, to put it the other way around, the fact that we (AKA the spiritually living) are always transcending is sufficient proof of God.

We'll leave off with a blunt aphorism and continue this deuscussion in the next post:

Truth is a person.

14 comments:

julie said...

And obviously, no God = no transcendence.

When a people embrace the idea of no God, not only do they fail to transcend, they become something lower than animals.

Incidentally, I was trying to think of an antonym or inverse for "transcend" in the spiritual sense. Oddly, there does not seem to be one, although "fall" could come close. Or I'm missing something totally obvious.

Gagdad Bob said...

Fall is good: inverted transcendence. Of all animals, only man can sink beneath himself.

Gagdad Bob said...

You could also call it "minus growth," which reminds me of Bion's (-k). I know this because the first half of my life involved a great deal of minus growth.

julie said...

That could work. The thing about "fall" is that it implies some amount of accident - once you're falling, unless you have a parachute or a safety net of some kind, the only thing that will stop you is hitting the bottom. Everyone falls, sooner or later.

On the other hand, there are those who not only fall and hit the bottom, they apparently like the pit so much that they'll get out a shovel and start digging - often while claiming they are reaching for the heights. That's what I had in mind re. an inverted transcendence.

And then we have our trolls...

Gagdad Bob said...

Trans-sexualism is literally a kind of minus transcendence. No wonder it so often ends in literal suicide.

John Venlet said...

Truth is indeed a person. His name is Yahweh Elohim.

Gagdad Bob said...

Just read a line in this new biography of Pope Benedict:

"Peter's name, Schimmeon or Schemel in Hebrew means 'Yahweh has heard.'"

Anonymous said...

Now, this latest mass shooting of complete strangers, I’m seeing professional shrinks calling the shooter kid a psychopath, just like Eric Harris. So far the only variable which sets America apart from the rest of the world (assuming psychopaths are equally distributed throughout the world more or less) is the sheer volume of psychopath-available weaponry.

Assuming we want to keep our weaponry, I’m hoping our shrinks will figure out another way to keep our beloved guns away from these psychopaths. Sure seems like they’re all over the place.

Failing that, we might be down to the wisdom of our dear friend Nicolás, wisest of the wise.

Nicolás said...

Today the conservative is merely a passenger who suffers shipwreck with dignity.

julie said...

You're right anon, it's far too dangerous here. Might I suggest Canada or Mexico? Nothing bad ever happens in those places, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Julie. This Christian Utopia you're all creating here in America is quite the doozy.

Despite mandating "covid lockdowns" far worse and having "mental health issues" as significant as seen in the USA, other developed nations are seeing nothing like this at these levels.

Of course, Republicans refuse to fund mental health issues, offering that teachers need to be better armed. To have an even chance, all teachers would have to be wearing body armor and have an armor piercing weapon cocked and at the ready all day long, even during instruction.

Maybe technology will provide answers and schools will be seen as hardened targets?

If and when that ever happens, other softer targets will then be chosen. Like shopping malls and churches and freeways. Boy I just can't wait for fortress America.

And Nicolás, no, they do not. Most agree with mandating better background checks and mental health services. The rest who aren't trying to gaslight the rest of us with nonsense, are concocting hairbrained ideas about arming everybody and everything.

Nicolás said...

The fool has no confidence in a truth that public opinion does not endorse.

Anonymous said...


Nicolás, I worked with some rapture folks. None of their own lives was going very well, so they were putting their faith in Revelations, End of Days, and especially that blue light that'd take em home.

It's been thirty years and we still haven't gotten to that place. I'd assume those rapture folks are getting a bit impatient by now. Is this the unconscious psychology behind wanting to completely ruin an America which was in our childhoods, only partially-ruined?

I’ve heard people talking about a needed civil war. All of them are also into magical thinking. I don’t think they understand what such a thing would mean for them, personally.

Civil war in American wouldn’t be trumpets blowing and walls falling and other miracles happening. Experts say it’d be worse than Mariupol, complete with ruins, starvation and no more Netflix. And then the Chinese, Russians, Moslems and anybody else with an axe to grind against America would arrive in large numbers looking for payback. Assuming everybody forgot the nuclear codes that is.

The rich and powerful who’re mostly behind all this angsty nonsense would of course, easily escape to their yachts or foreign homes and watch from a safe distance. I'd sure hope that you're one of them.

Nicolás said...

With good humor and pessimism it is possible to be neither wrong nor bored.