Is there any chance of man returning to the the unified cosmos he once inhabited? Not this or that man, but mankind? And how may I be of assistance?
Well, for starters, unity is much easier if you don’t know about other civilizations, religions, and cultures. Then again, a nonlocal source not only says this has been the case since Babel, but the source wants it to be this way -- linguistically diverse and scattered over the face of the earth.
But forever? I don’t think so. Rather, for a reason, which must be the higher and deeper unity rendered possible by diversity.
Diversity for its own sake is not only stupid, it is progressive and therefore diabolical. Indeed, it’s in the name, which is related to “scatter.” But if the devil scatters then Christ is the “gatherer,” the very principle of re-unification (and pre-unification, i.e., Alpha and Omega) -- one might say from the scourge of identity politics to the gift of true identity in Christ. That's the promise, anyway.
Hmm. It seems the cosmos is a journey from unity to diversity back to unity at a higher level.
Leaving the cosmos out of it for the moment, this certainly describes the human journey, or at least its telos. It’s why there’s such a thing as “development” to begin with, for development is always in the direction of a deeper and more comprehensive integration.
These preliminary thoughts were provoked by Lonergan, who literally spent his whole life trying to understand. And at the same time, trying to understand understanding, which he thought would lead back to unity. In other words, beneath all the diversity is a kind of meta-understanding not situated in the objects but in the subject who understands them.
To learn thoroughly is a vast undertaking that calls for relentless perseverance…. in which one’s living is more or less constantly absorbed in the effort to understand.
For Lonergan it was a vocation. I enjoy the same lifestyle, only for me it's an avocation. Still, an all-consuming one. It’s not my only hobby, but it’s in the top three, along with music and baseball.
With all that, did Lonergan succeed? And if didn't, what makes me think I can?
Several things: first, there’s a shortcut, otherwise the way would be inaccessible to anyone who isn’t a genius such as Lonergan. Indeed, sometimes genius itself can have a kind of scattering effect, in that trying to know everything can obscure knowledge of the one thing needful.
I suppose it’s why my most frequently cited accomplices are Davila and Schuon, since they cut through layers of ice and fog with extreme simplicity. Pieper is the same way, and Polanyi also conveys the most with the least. Hayek too, if only his English were better. And Jesus was pretty concise, and even then his words are always ordered to the Word himself. "My yoke is easy" and all that.
Is it just because I am a lazy man? Yes, but then again, I spend a lot of time at this. I’ll bet I devote more time to my avocation than most people do to their vocation, which makes me both lazy and odd. Or maybe even somewhat normal, if Schuon is correct. For
To be normal is to be homogeneous, and to be homogeneous is to have a center. A normal man is one whose tendencies are, if not altogether uniform, at least concordant -- that is to say, sufficiently concordant to convey that decisive center which we may call the sense of the Absolute or the love of God.
Well, woo hoo, because oddly enough this makes me just odd enough, since I definitely have those persistent tendencies toward Celestial Central:
The tendency toward the Absolute, for which we are made, is difficult to realize in the heterogeneous [read: scattered] soul -- a soul lacking a center, precisely, and by that fact contrary to its reason for being. Such a soul is a priori a “house divided against itself,” thus destined to collapse, eschatologically speaking.
Well well, who's the oddball now? Take that, normies, worldlings, and achievers!
Somewhere in this chapter Schuon gets into the potential problems of genius alluded to above. Here:
a genius is all too often a man without a center, in whom this lack is replaced by a creative hypertrophy.
Here he’s mainly referring to those artistic types who eventually become caricatures of themselves. Absent orientation to the Center, their mere talent betrays itself. More generally,
what is blameworthy in the exteriorized and worldly genius is not necessarily his production, but the fact that he sets his center outside himself, in a work which in a certain manner deprives him of his real core or puts itself in place of it.
Understood. It seems facile and boorish for a lazy blogger to criticize a genius such as Lonergan, but he does spend an awful lot of time in the weeds and trees of jungles of every particular science, and even then apologizes for being such a dilettante.
Well, not this Raccoon. I'm sorry, but I will never apologize! Philosophy is both simpler and higher than science, and God is higher than both. And simplicity itself. Literally.
Besides, this is a civilizational emergency. We're in a progressive graveyard spiral and there's no guarantee we'll pull out of it. Just last night a pilot friend described to me how this works, in that everything the pilot does to deal with the situation only makes the situation worse, in a negative loop. Besides, who's actually piloting the plane? Does the media really not want to know who it is? Or like us, do they know?
Anyway, no one has the time to read thousands upon thousands of pages of of philosophy from a single obscure genius, let alone master all the sciences. Maybe a lazy man is just what we need, so long as he is lazy in the right ways about the right things.