Saturday, November 18, 2023

Mystery Dream Theatre

I wanted to say theotre, but it would look like a typo. 

Picking up where we left off, Thomas says that

The act of the believer is not terminated at the enunciable statement but at the thing, at the revealed mystery itself. 

Or in other words, as the object of the intellect is intelligible being, the object of faith is the Mystery? Or something?

after descending from faith to theology to know its details and its various treatises, the theologian will experience the need to ascend from theology to faith, to ascend to the divine source of this science (Garrigou-Lagrange) 

That theologian being Thomas himself, alluding to the well-known mystical experience in light of which everything he had written was a pile of horse... food. They call his philosophy "precritical," but that's a pretty harsh criticism. 

I suppose this means that the object of theology is on the one hand God and/or revelation, but it also has its object in the teleological sense of the word, in that its ultimate end is the sort of infused contemplation experienced by St. Thomas, which is "a kind of beginning of eternal life" -- or of eternity while you wait

Note also that faith is an ascent to ultimate reality, whereas theology is a descent from it. 

Theology is all well and good, "provided that it is inspired not by natural curiosity but by the love of God," which again goes to its proper end or telos. 

Speaking of which, that's the end of the book. But here's an aphorism: 

Only the theocentric vision does not end up reducing man to absolute insignificance.

Elsewhere in the book G-L makes the point that in the end, our choice is quite literally between God and radical absurdity. Interestingly, if the latter is the case, then anything and everything we write is likewise so much straw, but what a difference!  

Come to think of it, all non-Raccoon philosophies end in a reductio ad absurdum if rigorously pursued to their (il)logical end. Frankly, most philosophies are soph-beclowning with their very first step out of the box. I know this in hindsight because I once believed a number of them but now understand them to be so much horse... food.

If I were going to sketch a cosmic flowchart in which to situate ourselves, at the top would be intelligible being in contradistinction to unintelligible being or intelligible non-being, which is to say, an absurdity or a dream, respectively. 

Now, is it possible that reality is a dream -- i.e., something we simply dream up, both collectively and individually?

Yes and no. Either way, humans have always suspected that dreaming has some significance, and I agree. I'm not referring to such-and-such a dream, but rather, dreaming as such, or the dream-mode of cognition. 

It reminds me our lengthy review earlier this year of McGilchrist's The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World, but it also reminds me of Matte Blanco's Bi-Logic, especially as applied to God and religion in Bomford's The Symmetry of God. And of course it reminds me of Finnegan's Wake, which presents all of human history as one long and crazy dream.

Is he wrong?!

Let's stipulate that the world is a dream that takes place between immanence and transcendence, or between (¶) and O respectively; these two symbols (or pneumaticons) are empty placeholders, much like algebraic variables, until we fill them with dream content.  

Does this plunge us into relativism and subjectivism? Yes! and No! Details to follow. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Right Side of Mystery

Although Garrigou-Lagrange is criticized for being excessively rigid, intransigent, and formulaic -- they even called him the sacred monster of Thomism -- he has his softer side. He's not all dogma, syllogisms and deductive logic. 

Rather, he cautions us against being "Like a child who studies the piano and cannot yet fathom what gives the works of the masters their value," and of coming "to a halt too readily at the formulas without seeking to pass through in order to thereby reach the Divine Reality signified, in order to penetrate and taste the revealed mysteries."

So, the formulas are not for their for own sake, rather, in order to penetrate and taste the Mystery which can never be contained by manmode language, because it's up there and we're down here. I do my best, but 

When we aim high, there is no public capable of knowing whether we hit our target.

Moreover, to each his own. Not everyone responds to the same material in the same way. Truth is true, but speaking it is analogous to painting, and there are realists, impressionists, abstract expressionists, et al. Which school is best? Whichever one gets the job done.

Yes, but what's the job? We -- or the Aphorist, rather -- touched on it yesterday, but here are a couple more:

The existence of a work of art demonstrates that the world has meaning. Even if it does not say what that meaning is.


Strictly speaking, the work of art does not have a meaning but rather a power

So, not only is the power anterior to the meaning, in a certain sense it is the meaning. 

Now, transpose this to religion. Especially in a western world conditioned by scientistic materialism, we want it to make sense in those terms -- to contain it in the wideawake and cutandry -- which is to underlook the power of the mystery. But 

If God were the conclusion of a rational argument I would feel no need to worship him.

Man calls "absurd" what escapes his secret pretensions to omnipotence.

Christ is the truth. What is said about Him are mere approximations to the truth.

Why do some religions persist while most fade away, like species that go extinct? 

Authentic works of art explode after their time, like forgotten artillery projectiles on a battlefield.

Likewise authentic works of religion, to say nothing of authentic revelation. It's why the Bible continues to have such explosive meaning, some parts more than others. In any event, the Bible is only the signifier for a signified that must again be penetrated and tasted

The Bible is not the voice of God but that of the man who encounters him.

Note the present tense. It is what God wants to say, channeled through you and I (or through I, period). 

Continuing with what G-L says above, he speaks of the great spiritual masters -- for not every great saint is a great theologian -- who didn't necessarily undertake a conceptual analysis (or synthesis) of the dogmas of the faith, nor deduce various theological conclusions, but who

profoundly lived upon these mysteries precisely by passing through the formula so as to go on to the Divine and Living Reality that they signify.

"How many simple but profound Christian souls live upon these mysteries more, perhaps, than many theologians!" Sometimes I wish I were one of them. But you know how it is:

Created reason is absolutely subject to uncreated truth.

Which is why God has seen fit to hide the Mystery from the tenured but reveal it to babes.

Which is not to say infantile. As St. Thomas says,

The act of the believer is not terminated at the enunciable statement but at the thing, at the revealed mystery itself. 

Before which we are indeed like a babbling child, which is an 

aphasia go through before the noesis in your head becomes real. Ascent you a son, amen for a child's job! 



Too old, older than Abraham, too young, young as a babe's I AM.... A godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' yes. 

Words words words. 

In its superior simplicity, faith is like an utterly simple circle.


The teachings of the greatest theologians, seeking to explain the dogmas of faith, are like a polygon inscribed within this circle, so as to elaborate its content and riches.

The number of potential polygons is literally infinite. Am I wrong?

 We've circled a lot of goround in this post. Where does it leave us? I'll let Schuon play us out: 

The man who rejects religion because, when taken literally, it sometimes seems absurd... such a man overlooks one essential thing, despite the logic of his reaction: namely, that the imagery, contradictory though it may be at first sight, nonetheless conveys information that in the final analysis is coherent and even dazzlingly evident for those who are capable of having a presentiment of it or of grasping it.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

On the Disenchantment and Re-enchantment of the World

To review, yesterday we examined the soundness of concluding I am from I think, and found it wanting. This is because a deeper principle is required, absent which there is no link between intellect and being (or I and am).

This link is pretty darn important. If it doesn't exist, then we can never escape our heads and know anything certain about extra-mental reality: there is no basis for the ergo sum 

without surreptitiously presupposing the ancient axiom: "The object of the intellect is being."

Absent the link to being, one could only say I think therefore I am thinking. And even this wouldn't be certain absent the principle of identity (non-contradiction), for "if reality can, at bottom, be contradictory," then is and is not would be indistinguishable, as in, I am therefore I am not. But commonsense realism affirms that

it is not only INCONCEIVABLE for us, but is indeed REALLY IMPOSSIBLE IN ITSELF that any given reality would simultaneously exist and not exist.

This is not simply a "logical law of the mind," but a necessary law of reality. Bottom line: "The point of departure for knowledge is not the cogito," rather

It is being, as well as the first principle which it implies: the principle of identity / non-contradiction.

Such a small point, but what massive consequences, for it points to the convergence of the laws of thought and the laws of being. It is not just in our heads that "reality cannot at once be reality and non-reality." No: the principle of identity applies to both thought and being. 

Nevertheless, "the whole of modern subjectivism" is founded on the denial of this first certitude. And here we are.

But even Kant would never say "perception is reality." Rather, that perception is perception (of appearances), and reality is unknowable. 

But even God obeys the the law of non-contradiction, in that he can't create "that which is manifestly absurd (like a square circle)." Such a thing is "obviously UNREALIZABLE outside the mind, whatever God's power may be." 

Having said all this, is there anything redeemable in subjectivism, relativism, postmodernism, et al? For as they say, philosophies are generally true in what they affirm but false in what they deny. Therefore -- if I'm following myself -- an integral philosophy will make room for both; it will not be a strictly either/or affair, but rather, both/and.

Again, Garrigou-Lagrange highlights "the real extra-mental impossibility of something which would exist and not exist at one and the same time from one and the same perspective," and of the need to resolve "our intellectual evidence into sensible evidence," or in other words, to be able to cash our concepts into real being.

Something in me rebels against such an unambiguous, cutandry, and wideawake worldview, for where's the magic, the poetry, the mystery? Certainly we need reality -- today more than ever -- but darn it, we also need mystery, enchantment, imagination, etc. 

Now, supposing we need these airy fairy things, what is their ontological status? If the object of the intellect is being, what is the object of the sense of mystery? Perhaps  

Mysticism is the empiricism of transcendent knowledge.

Historically speaking, we have evolved from enchantment -- the "enchanted world" -- to the disenchantment of scientism, positivism, and naturalism, and I've been thinking about this for a long time. 

For example, way back when I was trying to come up with an idea for my dissertation, I considered The Re-enchantment of the World -- not in an unhealthy, delusional way, but as the marker and synthesis of a kind of "higher health" -- you know, THE RELIGION THE ALMIGHTY & ME WORKS OUT BETWIXT US.

We're veering into a whole 'nuther post but the Aphorist has some preluminary ideas for where it seems to be headed:

Without aesthetic transfiguration all of reality is pedestrian.

When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, we do not know which is corrupted sooner.

Aesthetics is the sensible and secular manifestation of grace.

Every work of art speaks to us of God. No matter what is says.

The laws of biology in themselves do not have sufficiently delicate fingers to fashion the beauty of a face.

Faith is not an irrational assent to a proposition; it is perception of a special order of realities.

And speaking of non-contradiction,

Two contradictory philosophical theses complete each other, but only God knows how.

Perhaps we could say that there are good and bad -- or higher and lower -- forms of disenchantment and of re-enchantment (the New Age movement, for example, being an unhealthy perversion of a genuine human need). In any event, more to follow. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Reality Dysphoria Syndrome: Philosophy and Its Alternatives

That notion into which all our conceptions are resolved is being; in short, something either is or is not the case -- not just in our heads, but in the extra-mental world. Thus, intelligible being must be the beginning and end of all philosophy.

Was that so hard? 

When I say "philosophy and its alternatives," what I mean is that any true philosophy must be a philosophy of being. If it isn't, then not only is it not a philosophy, it's not even really anything, because it's certainly not about our knowledge of reality: "Being, the most universal notion, is presupposed by all other notions," and the first principle we derive from it is "Being is being; non-being is non-being."

I know: crazy! 

But all the real craziness -- both retail and wholesale, individual and cultural, clinical and tenured -- is founded on the denial of this principle: of the intelligibility of being to our intelligence, or that being is fungible to truth. 

Example. Might as well begin at the beginning of modern (which is to say, anti-realist) philosophy, with Descartes. More to the point, I'm reading an essay called The Thomist Critique of the Cartesian Cogito -- the old "I think therefore I am."

Now, the whole point of Descartes's famous gag was to arrive at a principle that presupposes no others, i.e., to found his hyper-skeptical philosophy on the solid rock of what assumes nothing and cannot be denied.

How's that going?

Turns out that I think therefore I am indeed assumes a prior principle -- specifically of non-contradiction -- otherwise Descartes "could think and, nonetheless, not exist, if it were possible that one and the same thing could be and not be." 

Among other principles, the cogito assumes that "whatever thinks is" and that "it is impossible that one and the same thing simultaneously be and not be." Seems almost embarrassing to have to remind Descartes that he cannot (for example) simultaneously be and not be Descartes, and that his famous cogito simply assumes the premise that "Whatever thinks, is," which could not be the case were the principle of identity not true. 

Schuon says much the same thing:
In the Cogito ergo sum all is lost, since consciousness of being is subordinated to the experience of thought; when being is thus blurred it carries thought downwards with it, for if it is necessary to prove being, it is necessary also to prove the efficacy of the intelligence, hence the validity of its conclusions, the soundness of the ergo
So, let's get real (and at the Real): "once the principle of contradiction [AKA identity] has been placed in doubt," then the cogito might just as well mean I think therefore I do not think, or I exist and therefore do not exist. In short, it holds "only if it is contradictory to think and not think at the same time."

I'm not a trained philosopher. What am I missing here? If thought is not ordered to being, then he's only affirming a tautology at best: I think, therefore I think. At best, because it could also mean I think therefore I don't think, or, I think therefore someone else is thinking.

And according to Schuon,
the modern idealists do not wish to admit anything but a subjective form of evidence because, for them, the intellect knows itself before knowing being.

But once you deny the link between intellect and being, there's no getting back to being, and you are no longer engaging in what we call philosophy, rather, one of its many alternatives and counterfeits, e.g,, misosophy (hatred of wisdom), philodoxy (love of opinion), cranio-rectal exploration, etc.

Real philosophy is the philosophy of the Real, otherwise it's some version of ontological auto-proctology.

Now, "to be intelligent," writes Schuon, "is to be realistic."

I know: crazy!

But "On the whole, modern philosophy is the codification of an acquired infirmity" -- an infirmity apparently contracted from Descartes, but which I suspect goes back to the real patient zero (Adam), and which has taken many forms throughout history, for example, the radical nominalism that continues to plague these anti-intellectual times. This “esoterism of stupidity” is quite literally the "suicide of reason."

It is only too evident that mental effort does not automatically give rise to the perception of the real; the most capable mind may be the vehicle of the grossest error (Schuon).

Thus "The paradoxical phenomenon of even a 'brilliant' intelligence being the vehicle of error."  

For example, nominalism affirms that there are no essences, rather, only conventional names for things; thus "man" and "woman" conform to no male or female nature, so a man might as well be a woman, a terrorist a freedom fighter, objectivity racist, etc.  

"I think." Do I? I guess sometimes, but more often than not, it's just "thoughts are." I have no idea where they come from, nor do I really know what this "I" is. What about the "therefore"? What can we really say?

Thoughts float in and they float out, into and out of some sort of sensorium of consciousness we conventionally call "I," therefore... what?

We need to dig down a little deeper into this whole subject, but that's enough words for today...

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Anticipations of Hell

Just some random passages from this essay called Truth and Indifferentism, presented with or without my commentary, starting with this:

when Christianity disappears from society, "it becomes an evil and cutthroat place," an anticipation of hell through despair and universal nausea. 

Item: "Compared with not attending any religious service, attending a religious service once a week has the same effect on happiness as moving from the bottom to the top quartile of the income distribution." So, the nausea and despair are not about financial affluence but spiritual impoverishment.

Recall the freethinker's manifesto:

beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma, and should instead be reached by other methods such as logic, reason, and empirical observation.

Well, first of all, Gödel. In other words, man qua man always transcends any logical system.

Second, man is indeed the rational animal, but he is only rational if he is ordered to his proper end. Our freedom

lies in the power to choose the means that lead us to our true final end, and not the power to choose what turns us away from it. Likewise, reason is a faculty for reasoning correctly and not awry; it is a faculty for knowing truth, by avoiding error as much as possible.

But not everyone uses this freedom rationally or responsibly, to put it mildly, e.g., "Freedom for Palestine!"

Of course, they cannot be free because they are not rational. After all, they freely chose to be ruled by irrational monsters. 

[It] is not true that all men, nor even the greater part of them, seek truth and virtue. And if one grants the freedom of teaching the errors that flatter desire and pride [not to mention bloodlust], a great portion of mankind would no longer find the saving truth.... St. Thomas had said likewise: "The majority of men follow their senses rather than right reason."

Which is precisely why the Palestinian terrortories are an anticipation of hell, for, among other things, hell is anyplace where there is no reason. Like a pro-Hamas rally. 

Back to the rights of truth: "To prefer freedom to truth is obviously to favor license, the source of all disorders." 

All? I suppose so, because freedom is again ordered to truth. Supposing it's ordered to something less, then it is dis-ordered, precisely.

Which we all learn in elementary school but systematically unlearn in college, if not before. I was a screw-up in school, but even I knew that my test answers were wrong because they weren't ordered to truth. Then again, I very much valued freedom over truth, a situation that took many years -- and decades -- to reverse itself.

I guess you could say that my head was an anticipation of hell. Again, truth is the conformity of judgment with being. If you believe otherwise, then you're well on your way to your head being annexed by hell:

true freedom only exists when it prefers, above itself, the truth that is its foundation, as the good is a true good only if it is founded upon truth, and the truth upon reality, that is, upon being and the nature of things. Truth consists in affirming what is and denying what is not

Truth is a property of being. Without it, there is neither a true good, nor a true freedom for choosing the true good in preference to evil, which is only an apparent good.

Truth is a property of being. What a wild idea! But if this isn't the case, then hell -- in one form or another -- is around the corner.

Many philosophers no doubt think this is dogmatic, or rigid, or "pre-scientific," otherwise they'd all be Thomists. As mentioned a few posts back, I agree that it must be the worst philosophy, except for all the others. But philosophy as such can never map being, the former being finite, the latter infinite. However, we can prevent our philosophy -- and our heads -- from being a cheap imitation of hell:

The devil is essentially incapable of recognizing that he is wrong, unless an admission to that effect is in his interest; so it is error become habitual that must be right at all costs, even at the cost of our intelligence and, in the last analysis, of our existence... 

The Devil -- like his communication arm, the liberal media -- is often wrong but never in doubt.

So, "the principle freedom that we must defend" is that of fulfilling our obligation to the true, the good, and the beautiful, which, unless one is very careful, all lead away from hell and back to God.

Recall that a "freethinker" is someone "who forms their own ideas and opinions rather than accepting those of other people, especially in religious teaching.... free thought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional social or religious belief systems."

Which reminds me of how the affluent woke can afford to entertain all those wacky luxury beliefs that result in disaster for the poor and underprivileged. Analogously, the cognitively underprivileged need

a power that sustains weak intellects against strong ones, delivering them from the most terrible oppression: oppression of the mind.... Neither peace nor freedom is possible outside the truth.

Gosh. I'm old enough to remember when academia was only an anticipation of hell instead of the real thing. But now the humanities have become the sub-humanities.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Freedom from Truth, or I Once Was Found But Now I'm Lost

About our "free thinking" friends who insist that "beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authority," and who adopt "their own ideas and opinions rather than accepting those of other people."

First of all, it is helpful to be informed of certain universal principles of thought before setting out to think, otherwise you can waste your life thinking thoughts that are not true and cannot possibly be true. For example, it's nice to know about the principle of non-contradiction, without which one arrives

at complete nihilism in the order of being, as well as the order of becoming and in the orders of thought, truth, error, opinion, desire, and action (Garrigou-Lagrange).

For example, "Can Kant simultaneously be Kant and not be him?" No? Then you understand the principle of non-contradiction, not just as a rule of thought but as a rule of reality, of being. Which, it turns out, is no small thing, because it means that thought conforms to being after all -- that intelligence is relative to intelligible being, otherwise there is no bridge from inside to outside, subject to object. 

Pff. To accept the "Kantian poison" is "to pour sulfuric acid into an excellent wine."  

Back to the essay on Truth and Indifferentism. A "free thinker" affirms his right to think what he wants, but again, what about the rights of truth? Can there really be a right to deny it? 

We would like to recall here the rights of truth, without which, obviously, there would be neither true freedom, nor a true human life worthy of the name...

Supposing freedom is higher than truth, then truth is ordered to freedom rather than vice versa, "as though yes and no could be true at the same time." Which leads directly to "my truth" and "your truth" because FREEDOM, or something.

Pff. "God cannot regard with equal benevolence two contradictory doctrines, the true and the false." The latter is permitted, but "the freedom of teaching error as well as truth is a freedom of perdition." Which is no exaggeration, considering the intellectual and spiritual hell of academia. 

To speak of an "academic freedom" that is prior to, or detached from, academic responsibility -- i.e., our obligation to the truth -- is to speak like an ass: "Complete liberalism leads to complete tyranny." Supposing 

one would like today to defend freedom of teaching without going on further to speak about the rights of truth, the defense of true liberty (as something distinct from license) will be deprived of its foundation

"Colonization." Pff. Free minds have been colonized by ideology, and truth deprived of its proper rights:

The modernists denied the traditional definition of truth [the conformity of judgment with being], as well as the ontological and transcendent value of the first notions and first principles of our intellect.

No longer (so they say) does the mind reach being -- AKA reality -- but rather, only the ever-changing appearances. Likewise, as a consequence of being plunged into subjectivism and relativism, "Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him." Pff. Everything evolves except the theory of evolution.

Which denies the principle of non-contradiction alluded to above, for it is to simultaneously affirm absolute mutability and immutability. But the first principles of thought "are absolute, immutable truths and not only truths that are relative to the mentality of a given age."

These principles are primordial certitudes of our natural intelligence, diamond-like certitudes that resist... all the sophisms of ancient skepticism or of modern relativism. 

Which is why the truth sets you free. Otherwise you're conflating freedom with just being lost in the bewilderness. To be continued...

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Free Thought, True Thought, and Personal Thought

I can't believe I didn't come up with this title first: You're Going to Miss Reality When It's Gone. It's another way of saying that you mustn't take is for granted, especially when the culture is forcing you to acknowledge and even celebrate what patently is not and cannot be.

However, upon reading the actual essay, I see that I don't agree with the author, who characterizes himself as a "freethinker," defined as

an epistemological viewpoint which holds that beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma, and should instead be reached by other methods such as logic, reason, and empirical observation.... 
a freethinker is "a person who forms their own ideas and opinions rather than accepting those of other people, especially in religious teaching." In some contemporary thought in particular, free thought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional social or religious belief systems.

I understand the sentiment -- for I am not only as, but much more, skeptical than the next guy -- but freethinking is of no value whatsoever in the absence of truethinking, i.e., the conformity of our judgment with being.

Nor can reality be reached by "logic, reason, and empirical observation," for the first two rely on data which must be furnished by extra-logical and trans-rational means, while empirical observation is only the beginning of knowledge, not the end, otherwise the senses would be superior to the intellect that abstracts from them, and which knows ontological principles and perceives metaphysical truths directly.

In short, there is (obviously) much more to reality than the appearances conveyed to us by the senses. Rather, reality is what is behind, or underneath, or above, the appearances, precisely.

"The validity of a logical explanation," according to Schuon, depends upon

the prior knowledge which this demonstration aims at communicating, and it is clearly false to take as the point of departure, not a direct cognition, but logic pure and simple.

Logic in and of itself is by definition tautological, for it cannot furnish its own premises:  

hence it cannot attain to the universal and the transcendent by its own resources; a supralogical -- but not “illogical” -- dialectic based on symbolism and on analogy, and therefore descriptive rather than ratiocinative, may be harder for some people to assimilate, but it conforms more closely to transcendent realities.

Is it actually possible to be a "freethinker" -- which implies freedom from all assumptions, axioms, traditions, and preconceptions? It's a little like being a "free musician": just pick up an instrument and blow. Forget about music theory, or aesthetic vision, or assimilating a tradition.

In the opinion of all profane thinkers, philosophy means to think “freely,” as far as possible without presuppositions, which precisely is impossible (ibid.).

Although the rationalist "draws his inspiration from a pre-existing system," this  

does not prevent him from thinking in a way that he deems to be “free”-- falsely, since true freedom coincides with truth (ibid., emphasis mine).

Truth and freedom. Evidently, the necessary relation between these two transcendental rascals isn't obvious.

Coincidentally, all of this is discussed in an essay I read yesterday called Truth and Indifferentism, by Garrigou-Lagrange. 

Speaking of whom (and he's just a single example), if the ideal (freethinking) epistemology rejects authority, tradition, revelation, dogma, etc., then why is he so brilliant while soph-styled freethinkers are such epistemological muddlebrows and philosophic dilettantes at best? Clearly, freedom is a necessary condition to get at the truth of being, but not a sufficient one. 

Off the top of my head, I'm guessing that freethought is always mingled with pridethought, for which reason the Aphorist says... so many things that the post will probably be hijacked, so we'll have to get to the essay tomorrow. Vis-a-vis "freethought,"

To educate man is to impede the "free expression of his personality."

Educating the individual consists in teaching him to distrust the ideas that occur to him.

Freedom is not an end, but a means. Whoever sees it as an end in itself does not know what to do with it when he gets it.

Freedom from tradition? Well, for starters, my tradition says this about freedom, and it's one of my favorites:

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, [boom] there is liberty.


The prestige of freedom in a society that professes scientific determinism is a Christian holdover.

Otherwise you have no intellectual defense against, say, "Islamist freedom," which is the freedom to murder Jews. Some freedom! 

The idea of the "free development of personality" seems admirable as long as one does not encounter individuals whose personalities were freely developed.

 Dávila didn't have to see San Francisco to know that

The price of absolute freedom would be a vulgarity without limits.

And that 

Upon finding himself perfectly free, the individual discovers that he has not been unburdened of everything, but despoiled of everything.

Ultimately because  

For the last two centuries the man who believes his prejudices are conclusions is called a "free thinker."

But let's get down to the real epistemological issue: 

The free act is only conceivable in a created universe. In a universe that results from a free act.

And who can engage in a free act except a person? Thus three conclusions, first,

The life of the intelligence is a dialogue between the personalism of spirit and the impersonalism of reason.


The permanent possibility of initiating a causal series is what we call a person.

And finally -- for it follows from the first two -- 

Truth is a person.

This is what both my common sense and my tradition tell me. My tradition also teaches that truth cannot contradict itself, and that all truth is a reflection of the one truth.

Where does this leave us? I suppose with the conclusion that I am not a freethinker per se, but a person who thinks freely, but only because freedom converges upon the truth of being, and is required in order to freely discharge our obligation to the truth. To quote G-L,

We would like to recall here the rights of the truth, without which, obviously, there would be neither true freedom nor a true human life worthy of this name....

Details to follow in the next post.

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