Wednesday, October 05, 2022

A Very Average Post on a Very Unimportant Day

Well, having finally penetrated and gained some insight into Bernard Lonergan’s Insight, it’s turning out to be a vertical adventure:

Depending on the reader and the book, it is a question of reading or of having an adventure.
Boom stars:

Collision with an intelligent book makes us see a thousand stars (Dávila).

It’s not so much that he’s saying something different from what we've been trying to say for 17 years -- that's right, October 5, 2005 -- rather, that anyone else is saying it. Nor is it exactly giving me new and unfamiliar insights, rather, deepening the same old insight into my own insight. 

In. Sight. Interesting word. Itdefinitely a kind of seeing, only not of visible objects, obviously, since those are outside and these are inside. 

But “seeing within” is precisely what defines humans as human. Consciousness is strange enough, but ours is Mighty Strange, in that it folds back on itself and somehow has awareness of the Great Indoors (notwithstanding leftist proglodytes, for whom an absence of reflection is both a cause and consequence; show me a self-aware progressive and I’ll show you a red pill beginning to take effect). 

However, the problem with most of these big name philosophers who spend their lives in academia is that they lose the old common touch  almost as if they're afraid to be understood by our kind, because it would imply a certain vulgarity, or lack of seriousness; Voegelin falls into the same category. 

C'mon, man. Who are you trying to impress? It won't work anyway, since the left will just slander you if there's any danger of becoming influential.  

If you really understand something, and that something is important, it can be explained clearly to any intelligent adult, and doesn't need a bodyguard of verbiage to set off the fireworks. Which is why we love Sr. Davila, who says the most with the least: the most stars with the least dynamite. 
Only ideas save us from adjectives. 
Wordiness is not an excess of words, but a dearth of ideas.
Clarity is the virtue of a man who does not lack confidence in what he says.
The deluded are prolix.
What do I know. I’m a blogger. But if there’s one thing I remember from my old Strunk & White, it is Omit Unnecessary Words, whether crafting a gag or revealing the Secrets of the Universe. 

To say something is very important instead of important is just very, very lazy writing. Especially when it comes to so-called news, never trust an adjective. Besides, the journalistic Eye of Sauron exists in order to systematically ignore the Very Important and distract us with the Very Trivial or Very Fake.

If I were to attempt to write something like Insight, I think I could manage it in pamphlet form. Yes, I sometimes turn on the gas. Okay, always. But this is blogging in real time, not a polished book I’m trying to sell.

No, I’m not complaining. Apparently, metaphysics is difficult. Or better, it seems that it's either easy or impossible, like hitting 62 home runs. Impossible (without steroids) for everyone except one guy for whom it seems rather easy: see ball, hit ball. Of course, it helps to be 6' 7" and 282 pounds.

Someone said the same of Shakespeare: if writing all those plays were difficult, it would have been impossible. Put another way, one can’t try to be a genius. Either one is or one isn’t. When someone is trying to be what he isn’t, you can smell it:
Vulgarity consists of pretending to be what we are not.
And thanks to widespread access to higher education, there are more uneducated intellectuals than at any time in human history, credentialed vulgarians one and all. They’re still intellectuals — and then some — in the sense that they live in a world of ideas. It’s just that the ideas are childish, shallow, ignorant, false, and even delusional; they exude pride and have the density of granite. On Moe’s scale, they are Curly.

But for both our sakes, I’m going to forgo a full plunge into Insight until I can digest it a bit more. Let’s first finish this collection of essays by Yves Simon, another prominent 20th century philosopher. Now, speaking of vulgarity,
to a vulgar concept corresponds a vulgar fact; to a scientific concept, a scientific fact; and to a philosophic concept, a philosophic fact.
To which we could add psychological or theological (and many other) concepts and facts. Indeed, the very same fact can be viewed through the lenses of the diverse heuristics, as discussed in yesterday’s post.  

In other words, sometimes the fact is a product of the heuristic (which is why mere science cannot perceive philosophical or theological facts without leaving science below), while other times the same fact is present to each, but illuminated in a different way. 

Without the self-reflective judgment of philosophy, science doesn’t even know what it knows; it can pronounce on what is — or at least what appears to be -- but not why it is, or who's behind that curtain of appearances.  

Why can’t people just stay in their ontological lanes? Probably because the vertical highway has been collapsed and turned into a oneway street. Only in such a vulgarian world can an atheist be considered a philosopher, an ideologue a scientist, or a groomer a teacher.

Anyway, there is something that is before anything and everything, the ultimate a priori, although it proceeds both outward and upward. It is inside existence, and therefore outside nothingness. What is it? It resembles divine infinitude, if such a thing existed, and it is like a tunnel to everywhere and -when.

Let’s say we find some footprints in the sand. What do the footprints tell us? Well, first of all, they tell us, meaning they somehow point in our direction. However, they also point to the one who made them, so they are bidirectional. 

Now do the footprint of intelligibility per se. Who made it, and why does it speak to us?


John Venlet said...

Collision with an intelligent book makes us see a thousand stars (Dávila).

Very apt aphorism, and the stars ones sees are not like the stars one could see after being knocked on the head, but rather, a James Webb telescope deepening view of the universe.

It’s not so much that he’s saying something different from what we've been trying to say for 17 years -- that's right, October 5, 2005 -- rather, that anyone else is saying it. Nor is it exactly giving me new and unfamiliar insights, rather, deepening the same old insight into my own insight.

I wonder how simple, or difficult, it would be to put those 17 years into pamphlet form, as your referenced further in?

Related to the above pamphlet thought, and many individuals' avoidance of The Scriptures and theology in general, is this fact related to too many theologians muddying the waters, so to speak. The true message of the Good News of Jesus Christ is actually quite simple, rather than a complicated word puzzle.

julie said...

Happy blogiversary!

They’re still intellectuals — and then some — in the sense that they live in a world of ideas. It’s just that the ideas are childish, shallow, ignorant, false, and even delusional; they exude pride and have the density of granite.

I was just reading yesterday about a group of organic chemistry students who got their professor fired because... the class is hard and they didn't get good grades. I'm sure the students who signed the petition are well-versed in woke speak and can probably write pages of word salad explaining why they couldn't do the work, though.

Gagdad Bob said...


I suppose every post is an attempt to pack the previous 4,000 into one. I'll keep trying until it can fit onto a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or tattoo.

Gagdad Bob said...

And to think I wasted all that time learning, when I could have just signed a petition to fire the teachers.

Gagdad Bob said...

If I had told my parents that "the teacher is too difficult," they would have looked at me as if I were speaking Chinese.

Gagdad Bob said...

Come to think of it, they did.

Gagdad Bob said...

For me, things are either easy or impossible.

Gagdad Bob said...

For example, I was originally a business major, and flunked out.

julie said...


Organic chemistry was largely responsible for my addiction to coffee. It didn't help, I almost always started dozing off in class, which was really bad because there were only about seven students (it was a very small college). At one point, the instructor actually threw up his hands and asked if there was any way to make the subject more interesting, so clearly I wasn't the only one struggling.

What I took from that wasn't that he should have made it easier, but that at a certain level of science and math I was just in over my head and should consider getting a degree in something else.

julie said...

Painting requires very little math, and these days, not a lot of chemistry, either. Just enough to understand that certain oil paints & thinners can burn your house down...

julie said...

Speaking of insights, this is kind of interesting. I don't know that I've ever heard of someone making this kind of mental switch before, certainly not as an adult. I wonder how often it happens?

Gagdad Bob said...

I remember hitting the walls of chemistry and trigonometry in high school, followed by accounting and money & banking in college. Surrounded by these four walls, I guess that left me no escape but through the roof.

John Venlet said...

I'll keep trying until it can fit onto a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or tattoo.

Don't do that, Gagdad, then it just becomes a slogan, for example the vacuous "WWJD" bracelet of a number of years ago. When the disciples were sent out by The Messiah, I'm fairly certain they did their utmost to share His message as precisely as it was revealed to them by Him in person, without embellishment.

julie said...

Ha - brings back another memory. Back last century, in a different college, a fellow student was a young man who unironically carried one of those as a key chain. After relating a story about how he destroyed someone's camera at a party because they took his picture, I asked him how he squared his behavior with the keychain. He looked at me as if I had three heads.

John Venlet said...

Not necessarily related to this particular post, but to the overall trajectory of Gagdad's postings over the years, and where we are today, is this from Rod Dreher. Longish read, but rather interesting.

Anonymous said...

Why take 4000 posts to say that all our tribe really wants is earthly power rationalized by religious belief? Personally, I think that religious belief rationalizing away earthly power was more compelling. But that’d be so 1491.

Nicolás said...

Whoever is curious to measure his stupidity should count the number of things that seem obvious to him.

julie said...

Reminds me of something a little boy said to me after testing for his yellow belt last night: "I already know everything I need to know."

Of course, he has the excuse of being a child.

Van Harvey said...

Happy Belated Blogiversary!🍻