Monday, April 01, 2024

A Heaping Helping of Nothing for Nobody

Different objects require different methods: if your only tool is a material hammer, then you can never hit the immaterial nail. 

As such, it is unscientific to pretend to contemplate what it would be unphilosophical not to contemplate. Contemplation is a method, but its object is not reducible to the object(s) of science, even while subsuming them.

Nevertheless, scientism is the Philosophy of the Hammer:

it ignores, not only the degrees of reality and the fact of our imprisonment in the sensory world, but also... the gushing forth of our world from an invisible and fulgurant Reality, and its reabsorption into the dark light of this same Reality (Schuon).

Fulgurant: amazingly impressive; suggestive of the flashing of lightning. This impressive flash of lightning tracks with what we hammered home a couple of posts ago vis-a-vis the Great Circle of Being:

In the emergence of creatures from their first source is revealed a kind of circular movement, in which all things return, as to their end, back to the very place from which they had their origin in the first place (Thomas).

Schuon adds that "All of the Real lies in the Invisible," meaning that the most crippling kind of blindness sees only visible surfaces and superficial appearances. Rationalism is scarcely better, as its eyes see only backward, to what is inside the head subsequently projected outward: 

by wanting to exhaust all the knowable by thought alone, one ends by no longer knowing how to think at all.

More generally,  

By a curious and inevitable backlash, the abuse of intelligence is always accompanied by some inconsequentiality and some blindness (Schuon).

This is not to say that reason has no place in the scheme of things, only to recognize its limits:

a rationalist can be right on the level of observations and experiences; man is not a closed system, although he can try to be (ibid.).
Why is man not a closed system? Indeed, how did we ever transcend selfless instinct and selfish genes to become vertically open to the Real? To say that this defies Darwin was said even by Darwin:

with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.

He's not wrong:

Supposing Darwinism is true, how could Darwin know it without being a great exception to Darwinism? 

Must be because the Cosmos itself is an open system, which in turn is a reflection or vestige of the ultimate open system, which is to say, the trinitarian Godhead in which the Son is always open to the Father and vice versa. But this is getting ahead of our post.

We've said before that modern progressivism is the institutionalization of man's fall, which encloses him in immanence, precisely.

On the whole, modern philosophy is the codification of an acquired infirmity: the intellectual atrophy of man marked by the “fall” entails a hypertrophy of practical intelligence, whence in the final analysis the explosion of the physical sciences and the appearance of pseudo-sciences such as psychology and sociology (Schuon).

Imagine going to all the time and trouble of acquiring a Ph.D. in one of these pseudo-sciences.

D'oh! 

Thankfully, I've been able to recover from that and move on to the discovery my own higher uselessness: the actual philosopher

will not fit naively into the functioning of the workaday routine; he... will not be "fit" for this world; he as well will look at things differently from those who primarily are dominated by the pursuit of practical purposes...

Philosophy by its nature is a free endeavor, and for this reason it serves no one and nothing (Pieper). 

One Cosmos, serving nothing and nobody for 18 years!

Survival of the fitless?

Yes, but man as such is a cosmic misfit, is he not? How is it that we can explain most everything but ourselves, nor can we fit into any manmade scheme without procrustean amputations?

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

Just how do we explain the explainer in the absence of the openness alluded to above? Science discovers -- or presupposes rather -- a rational world of intelligible law. But

Natural laws are irreducible to explanation, like any mystery.  

So, science illuminates the Mystery even to the nth degree without ever eliminating it. And even then,

Being only falsifiable, a scientific thesis is never certain but is merely current. 

On the other hand,

We believe in many things in which we do not believe we believe.

First and foremost of which must be O, in which we can only pretend not to believe. Is it even possible to engage in science without presupposing it? 

Bear in mind that when we say O, we are referring to, among other things, the world's infinite intelligibility-to-intelligence, or to the "actually infinite Plenitude of Being" in which "all other beings participate yet of which they are but imperfect images." 

This is the "unifying center and source" which "confers magnificent intelligibility on the natural dynamism of my mind and the whole intellectual life arising out of it" (Clarke). 

Turns out we "cannot deny the existence of God without asserting a whole raft of beliefs about the nature of the world" (Lennox). I suppose we'll see if this raft floats in the next post.

1 comment:

julie said...

Yes, but man as such is a cosmic misfit, is he not? How is it that we can explain most everything but ourselves, nor can we fit into any manmade scheme without procrustean amputations?

Indeed. One of the nice things about discovering one's higher uselessness is the ability to simply be oneself, without trying overly much to fit in with what most of the rest of the world thinks one ought to be.

This is not to say that reason has no place in the scheme of things, only to recognize its limits:

a rationalist can be right on the level of observations and experiences; man is not a closed system, although he can try to be (ibid.).


People love to come up with systems to explain everything. The smartest ones are even correct... to a point. Once they have their system, though, there seems to come a point where something has inverted and the system has them. I wonder what it takes for such a person to discover that, after all the time and effort put into developing and codifying the system, all he has accomplished is only so much straw?

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