But. There's always a but:
In our own day, within the flattened-out worldview of secularized science and materialism, there is clearly no place for the conception of the human being as living on the frontier of matter and spirit: there is nothing there on the upper side of the border! It has all been leveled out and absorbed down into the material underside (Clarke).
Now, one thing I like about Thomistic psychology is that it simply describes what humans do, always do, and can't help doing, when we engage in intellection of any sort: to say intellection is to say transcendence, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it, no matter how tightly we cling to the myths and superstitions of material scientism. Transcendence is. If it weren't, then no one could have poor taste:
The rhetoric that is in the worst taste is that which renounces transcendence without renouncing its vocabulary.
With apologies to Horace, you can drive out transnature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back. Imagine bothering to engage in thought only to promulgate a vulgar metaphysic that denies its real existence and even possibility:
The vulgar epistemology of the natural sciences is a burlesque idealism in which the brain plays the role of “I” (Dávila).
But these earthbound factsimians are not abnormal, for they represent the spiritually untutored and untransformed mob.
Rather, we are the weird ones. Which is one reason why the World -- the world of vulgar normotics -- hates us. Seems like a kind of envy, only displaced from the horizontal to the vertical, and which resents anyone who isn't as empty as your typical childless SJW Karenoidal wacktivist.
Not only is transcendence a fact, it is the first fact encountered by the awakened mind. Without it, we are indeed plunged into the senses and imprisoned in matter. But thanks to it, we are vaulted into this luminous new dimension abiding at a right angle to mere existence. Speaking for mysoph, I would much prefer to be a pauper here than the King of all Flatland.
Trolls, of course, like to argue. But we never argue, only offer. Take it or leave it:
He who does not doubt the value of his cause does not need his cause to win. The value of the cause is his triumph (Dávila).
With regard to our abnormality, it reminds me of a point Alex Epstein makes in his excellent Fossil Future: Why Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas -- Not Less.
I won't go into detail, but Epstein makes the obvious point that, thanks to fossil fuels, we live in by far the most abnormally pro-human time since human beings first appeared on the scene 50 or 60,000 years ago. It is because of fossil fuels that climate-related deaths have plummeted 98% over the past hundred years, that billions of people have been lifted from poverty over the past few decades, and that average lifespan has more than doubled.
In short, it is natural and normal to die before the age of 30 due to disease, famine, cold, drought, and other various natural disasters. Untransformed and unmastered nature is not your friend!
Excuse me while I think the following through out loud. Now, the lesson of the Genesis 3 is that supernatural grace has been withdrawn from man. Therefore, it seems to me that the fall must represent a kind of descent from supranature to mere nature. Not completely, of course, unless you're one of those Total Depravity advocates:
the new theology of Luther and Calvin taught that when the human race fell into original sin, human nature itself was not only weakened, as Catholic theologians had always held, but thoroughly and irremediably corrupted so that even justification by faith did not heal this corruption intrinsically but only "covered it over" with the merits of Christ (Clarke).
We won't argue the point, but such a perspective lands us in the same anti-transcendence ditch as materialism, and dismembers the cosmos at the source:
As a result, any singing of the natural dignity and glory of humanity was now deemed quite inappropriate. It was the misery of man, not his grandeur, that now deserved to be sung after the Fall (ibid).
As usual, it's not either/or but both/and: dignity and depravity, misery and grandeur. But in any event, no one here is bragging, if that's what you suspect:
Nobody will ever induce me to absolve human nature, because I know myself.
We can never count on a man who does not look upon himself with the gaze of an entomologist (Dávila).
Now, we've all heard about Gregor Samsa, who woke up one morning from anxious dreams only to discover that he had been changed into a monstrous bug. But have you heard the one about the monstrous ape who woke up to transhumanness?
The question is, how? That is, how does the ape wake up to manhood, and how does the human being awaken to something transcending man? How convenient! The next chapter is called The Immediate Creation of the Human Soul. I suppose we'll discuss it in the next post, but meanwhile, let's suggest that
Only the souls that are made fertile by a divine pollen bloom (Dávila).