Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Beginning and End of All Knowing

In his The Philosophical Approach to God, Norris Clarke writes that 

As we reflect on the activities of our intellectual knowing power, we come to recognize it as an exhaustible dynamism of inquiry, ever searching to lay hold more deeply and widely on the universe of reality. It is impossible to restrict its horizon of inquiry to any limited area of reality, to any goal short of all there is to know about all that there is (emphasis mine).

Weirdly, nothing in this world -- no conceivable finite fact or state of affairs -- satisfies this inexhaustible dynamism of the intellect, almost as if we were not made for this world (for example, lower animals fit into their environments like a key into a lock, as do our own animal instincts). 

In short, given a strictly Darwinian worldview, it is not exactly self-evident why

He who wishes to avoid grotesque collapses should look for nothing in space or in time that will fulfill him.

For as Clarke says, "our experience of knowing reveals to us that each time we come to know some new object or aspect of reality we rest in it at first, savoring its intelligibility as far as we can." But then,

as soon as we run up against its limits and discover that it is finite, the mind at once rebounds farther, reaching beyond it to wherever else it leads, to whatever else there is to be known beyond it.

That is, until today. Today we will finally get to the Last Truth. Which has to do with the permanent and ineradicable structure of human knowing: we can only know anything because we can't know everything; or in other words, science is necessarily sponsored by the omni-science that is its transcendent ground.

Our process of knowing "continues indefinitely in ever-expanding and ever-deepening circles" -- which is to say, an in-spiralation toward O, which is an endless process of be-coming and of coming-into-being

The "totality of being" -- or its inexhaustible source and principle -- is what we call O: it is the ground and telos of all knowing; it is our horizon of being -- or better, it is always just over the vertical horizon. 

Our own dynamic space of knowing is ordered to Celestial Central, the latter characterized by ascending and descending energies and currents.

All of which is coonfirmed and thensome (to the tune of 600 pages) in the book Christ the Logos of Creation: An Essay in Analogical Metaphysics

Where to begin? Perhaps with the conclusion, after which we will spiral back down to the beginning. It highlights the complementary and dynamic relationship between metaphysics and theology, which might be symbolized as () and (), respectively; these two sciences have the same Unlimited Object -- O -- but approach it from different vectors, as it were:  

Simply put, while approaching reality from different starting points, the two disciplines concern the same One....

Whereas classical metaphysics, commencing from a philosophical starting point, looks to this One from the vantage of the many, theological metaphysics considers all things from the vantage of God's own self-revelation. Whereas the former begins with things and searches for a Logos that might explain them, the latter commences with the reality of this Logos.... 

Whereas philosophy, following Plato and Aristotle, begins with wonder [?!] and gradually rises up [] to the contemplation of some Logos, theology begins with even greater wonder at the descent [] of this Logos (Betz).

Thus, "any philosophical metaphysics is not destroyed but stands to be perfected by theological metaphysics." It is just "a matter of seeing that the one ascending-descending Logos [] is the one subject of metaphysics and theology," such that "the Way up and the Way down are one and the same Way of the Logos."

Back to Clarke for a moment, the Divine Object or Logos "naturally attracts or draws" the dynamic intellect toward itself (i.e., it is the Mighty Strange Attractor, the vertical magnet of our innate epistemophilia to which we have alluded on many occasions). Which means that

the mind has, from its first conscious movement from emptiness toward fulfillment, a kind of implicit, pre-conceptual, anticipatory grasp or foretaste of being as the encompassing horizon and goal of all its inquiries.... This is to live mentally within the horizon of being.


The entire mental life of man consists in gradually filling in this at first conceptually empty and indeterminate but limitless horizon of being with increasingly determinate conceptual comprehension, as we step by step come to know one part of this totality after another.

The "conceptually empty and indeterminate but limitless horizon of being" is none other than O as experienced from the perspective of (), while the endlessly flowing knowledge thereof is (k). 

Our intellectual life assumes the structure of (k) or (n) --> O (the first being scientific or horizontal knowledge, the second being metaphysical or vertical knowledge of trans-temporal metaphysical principles, or of what Schuon calls the principial domain accessible from our end).

Conversely, revelation is in the direction of O --> (¶), this latter symbolizing the higher noetic intellect to which (is addressed, precisely.

Now, it is possible -- or perhaps ineveateapple -- to superimpose worldly (k) over O, with the result that we are no longer in touch with reality, rather, only our little theory about it. 

Betz actually addresses this at the very end of the book, writing of how man has "followed one 'ism' after another," which just might be the diverse "faces of Anti-Christ, inasmuch as they turn upon some captivating 'idea' and not on the Logos-flesh in whom all things (heaven and earth) and all peoples are united..."

But we'll have plenty of time for transcendental insultainment when we circle back to the beginning of the book. Suffice it to say that "we are left with a choice... between the One Logos and all the world's '-isms'": 

In other words, compared to the One Logos of the Father and creation, all "isms" are so many deceptive abstractions, which abstract us from the real world as it exists in the One Logos....

It is a question of whether "we really want to live in Reality, and not be caught up in a web of lies or in some illusory world of our own making" -- AKA Gen3AOA. 

Much more to follow, but we'll end with an observation by Heraclitus at the very beginning of the book:

Although the Logos is common, the people live as if they had their own wisdom.

Ain't it the truth. 

1 comment:

julie said...

Busy day yesterday, for some reason I didn't pick up on the meaning of Gen3 AOA; did a search and came up with a K Pop group.

Today it's obvious; finally had enough coffee or something, but for a minute there I was concerned that your music interests had taken a surprising turn.

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