The Criterion Of Certitude

Greetings to the men of ROK! I’m sorry to have been on such a long sabbatical—and, unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be writing much longer. While I am sorry that my contributions have to be sparser for the forseeable future, this is due to some very good news for myself. Head over to the hermitage’s website to read about it.

This week, I want to wrap up our discussion on Epistemology/Criteriology, and Certitude. I will have to conclude it in a somewhat more peremptory fashion than I would like, since my good news requires a lot of preparation for an imminent deadline. But, I think this conclusion will be good enough to get the main gist across. I will provide a bibliography and links to other resources in an upcoming post, so that interested men can pursue matters further.

A Brief Recap

Criteriology is the study of man’s certitude, i.e., what and how he can know certainly. This is called “Criteriology” from the Greek κριτήριον (kriterion), meaning “standard of judgment,” and λόγος (logos), meaning “reckoning.” This is because certainty is present when the mind has made a judgment, in which there is a true correspondence between his thought and the thing being evaluated. Thus, the Scholastic maxim: Veritas est adaequatio intellectus et rei (“truth is the adequation of a thing and a thought”). Or, put otherwise, truth is when the objective and subjective elements of man’s judgment correspond.

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Certainty is not an emotive feeling, but an awareness of knowing the truth; feeling strongly about something has nothing to do with certainty. It is produced when, upon sufficient reflection on the evident facts, the mind realizes that a certain thing is true, producing a compelling intellectual adherence. But this leads man to the question: “what is evident?” Cardinal Mercier, whose Manual of Scholastic Philosophy we were following, mentions that, since the time of Descartes, the question is usually posed: “Is human reason able to know things as they really are? Or, in other words: can we attain to a consciousness that our ideas are conformable to things as they are in themselves? How can the mind arrive at an assurance of this conformity?”

He points out that this formulation is incomplete and incorrect; trying to know what a thing may be in itself, considered apart from our perceptions of it, “is, as far as we are concerned, as if it did not exist, a pure non-entity.” This is because it is an absurdity to talk about what we can know about a thing in abstraction from our knowledge about that thing. Rather, as the Scholastic dictum says: cognitio est in cognoscente ad modum cognoscentis (“the thought is in the thinker according to the thinker’s own manner”) – i.e., every perceiving agent must of necessity perceive things in accord with its own nature. My human mode of perception, based upon the eye, its rods and cones, the retina, the nervous system, etc., perceives a red ball in a certain way. Surely an angel, for example, perceives the ball in some other way; but our perceptions correspond to the real thing, whatever it be in itself. Or, put another way: I can use my eyes to see that a ball is round; a blind man must perceive it in a different way, by touch, but perceives the same quality under a different manner of sensation.

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Aided by deifying grace, Saint Benedict perceived all existence in a single ray of divine light; the saints understandably explain that such visions cannot be adequately explained to others by any analogy of human perception.

We can discuss the truthfulness of the mind’s perception of exterior things (“the objectivity of our conceptions”), or of the mind’s perception of abstract concepts (“the objectivity of the ideal order”). In examining the mind’s initial state of knowledge, Cardinal Mercier was careful to point out two equal, opposite errors: 1) the theory of universal doubt (which is an unwarranted and even irrational prejudice), and 2) exaggerated dogmatism (he affirmed the logical necessity of this view’s assumptions if the mind knows anything true, but rejected the attempt to take them for granted). The Cardinal was only willing to admit two things, a priori: 1) we subjectively experience spontaneous assent to various perceptions; 2) we are able to reflect on these.

Resolution Of The Problem

Cardinal Mercier points out that the resolution to the problem is actually quite simple. If the mind’s perceptions do not correspond to actual objects, whether of the ideal or actual order, the mind would be arbitrarily certain or doubtful in regards to the same object; instead, we see that the mind moves from doubt to certainty in regards to the same object, as it reflects upon what is evident about it.  When the evidence is understood sufficiently by the intellect, it attains a certainty which remains for as long as the evidence is fresh to the mind, and understood thereby. This purely internal knowledge is also confirmed by conferral with other persons, whose intellects behave in the same way with regard to the same object of thought. Take this statement: “the degrees of the four angles produced when one line intersects another, always add up to 360 degrees.” Perhaps at first I don’t understand this. But upon reflection – measuring, reflection upon axiomatic truths of geometry and mathematics, etc. – it becomes clear to me. My mind will not fluctuate once this is understood and the evidence is before me. If my thoughts sprung from myself without any connection to this object’s real nature, one cannot see how this would be the case.

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At first, I was unsatisfied with the Cardinal’s answer; I asked myself: “but what if it is the nature of the mind to produce these convictions, despite the fact that they do not really correspond to any real ‘truths?’” A great deal of reflection, and an helpful essay by the Church’s last truly fine theologian, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, helped me to reduce the matter to an even plainer level.

Many, taking Descartes’ statement slightly amiss, think that that first thing the intellect perceives is its own cognition (“I think, therefore I am”). Now, it may be true that the first thing the mind spontaneously reflects upon, is its own cognition; but in fact the mind must perceive being itself before it perceives cognition, for cognition involves the existence of the subject and object of the cognition. Thus, “I am, therefore I think.” We may not reflect upon this fact, however, until we have reflected upon our cognition, and this is why Descartes deduced his existence from his thought.

When the mind is making a certain judgment, it is doing nothing other, than perceiving being and judging that the subject and object of his judgment involve the same being. For example, Euclid knows what a line is; he perceives the nature of the angles formed when two lines meet perfectly perpendicularly; he perceives that there are four such angles in a perfect square. All he is doing in each case, is affirming that he perceives the same quality of being from one thing to the next. This is but the first, indemonstrable certainty cited by Aristotle in Metaphysics IV:iii – “A thing is not affirmed and denied at the same time,” the principle of non-contradiction. Everything else is based upon it.

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Philosophy penetrates to the first principles of things, by which all other principles can be accurately derived.

We find that the evidence of this fact impresses itself upon our minds. We perceive that other men see it, and see other principle truths, as we do. Only with disgust, can we force ourselves to imagine that if x is equal to y, y may yet not equal x. Nothing interior or exterior to ourselves contradicts it or gives cause to question it; quite the opposite! To doubt our first and most basic certainty, then, is to will to doubt, not only without cause, but in spite of all causes to the contrary. The crisis of Modernity is based in this perversion of the will when it comes to pursuing certainty in important matters.

Essentially, this is at the bottom of it: in finding ourselves able still to will to doubt, in literal spite of ourselves and of everything, we have simply discovered that we are contingent beings suffering from a defect of will, who require the approbation and confirmation of the Necessary Being before we can escape the possibility of the brute, stubborn, irrational will to doubt. Moreover: if we insist that we cannot really affirm our perception of being, of the principle of non-contradiction, etc., with certainty, we find ourselves in a logical paradox: we would be affirming certainly that we cannot be certain. And we would be doing this based upon a (rash and erroneous) judgment that relies upon the same criterion of evidence which we deny and which, if we affirm it, compels us to affirm the possibility of certitude. Thus, we cannot even argue against certainty without affirming certainty and implicitly approving of all the evidence for it.

So: if we are willing to step away from the suicide of doubting simply because we find that we can, contrary to the necessary affirmations which the principles of this irrational and unwarranted doubt would require us to make in favor rather of certainty, we find that we can say with certainty that we perceive being; we perceive that existence exists; we find that what exists is not simultaneously affirmed and denied.

The Consequences

One may not think that this is a particularly outstanding thing. But, one would be surprised at how quickly the human mind, infallible in itself, begins perceiving the inevitable connections that arise from this perception of being (and non-being). For example, we perceive that insofar as we perceive being, we perceive it in act. We perceive that an act is directed towards an end; and that whatever begins to act, has a cause. We perceive that an agent acts with the goal of some good – and indeed, that an effect cannot be greater than its cause, so that the Good is necessarily itself the first cause and the final aim of all things.

In other words, with metaphysical certainty we perceive the existence of being, of the good, of act, of cause and of effect, of the natural and moral law, and even of God Himself, though of course the specifically revealed dogmas of the Faith are not able to be deduced from natural reason in this way.  Yet, St. Thomas Aquinas points out that the immortality of the soul is at the far end of the spectrum of truths which can be demonstrated with certainty from natural reason.

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I will soon tie this in to some of the political, social and moral points I had been making in my more recent articles. But in short: when a man thinks clearly, he will find that many truths, which are regarded by most Modern Westerners as unscientific, religious matters (and hence, mere opinions), are in fact able to be known with greater certainty, and with far greater ease, than most of their pet doctrines (on “rights,” “social justice,” even “Global Warming,” et al.). Indeed, in the aforementioned article of Fr. Garrigou Lagrange, he is keen to show that what we call “common sense” knows all these first principles of reason without much reflection; the entire purpose of modern schooling and media, is to destroy our innate common sense and to inhibit our powers of reflection, perverting the will towards the preference for doubt and for negation both of being and of the good.

While the Globalist Psychopaths affirm their own delusions with dogmatic fury, they will slander a proper, religious or moral truth as though it were simply a matter of your (bigoted) opinion. You can know certainly that 1) they are wrong; 2) even if they were right – which is impossible – they would have invalidated all their own opinions, equally; so, screw ’em.

The day is fast approaching, I believe, when Western men will have to stand up for themselves with more force and conviction than our age prepares us to have. But the coming battle will require us to rise to that challenge, and I would like to see you fight with the boldness and conviction of a clean conscience and a keen mind, with only humility and prudent pity to slow your sword-hand.  Before that day comes, let us leave ignorance and unwarranted doubt aside.

Until next week!

Read More: 4 Reasons To Host A Feast

93 thoughts on “The Criterion Of Certitude”

  1. God as the underwriter of our perceptions of reality. This was Bishop Berkeley’s radical conclusion and he’s correct to a degree. All ideas of “external reality” begin and end in the cognition of our minds in which can only come to know the external objects of the world through what our minds denote them to be in the first place, otherwise “external reality” would be a never ending spectrum of perceptions, like a never ending LSD trip.
    Interestingly, under such a meaning of certitude, the objects that we perceive while we’re asleep in dreams or that we imagine when we read a great work of fiction or listen to a piece of music, must have the same value as those real objects we perceive in the external world. It means in some pivotal sense that our ordinary waking consciousness is completely dependent on our imagination to literally “make sense” of the world for us everyday.

    1. The question is from where the mind gets those notions. The good bishop seems to be saying that directly from God. Another possibility is from things themselves. The latter seems more plausible to me.

      1. But, Berkeley argues that you can’t begin from “things in themselves”- a chair for example has no idea about what it is- sure our minds give such objects a functional name like “chair” that we all understand- however, ultimately the question relating to their existence when we perceive these or other objects relates to us, or, some type of underlying conscious substratum in the first place. Before humans objects existed in our world, but not as now, yet we’re let asking, who was observing them? (God/the Universe?)

        1. The chair certainly has no idea what it is but there is an idea in the chair that makes it what it is i.e. the form. The chair does not need to have a consciousness in order to have an idea or better to embody an idea. Our mind perceives the idea that is in the chair or the chair participates in. I think that is the standard answer of metaphysical realist. How does Berkeley respond to that?
          Also the question where the idea of chair is when no chair exists is interesting one. As a possibility in God’s mind?

        2. Berkeley’s answer is not say there’s no difference between the real and imagined chair as they’re simply both aspects of the same idea that exists in our mind.
          One of his essential propositions is that you cannot escape the empirical reality of the world that’s all around us, trees, chairs, other people, snowflakes. However, his argument which is strong and difficult to refute, says that all of these (external) things are nothing but ideas (not in the modern sense as such) in our minds which are essentially the world with all its quantities and objects. There is no difference apart from the action of our perception which allows us to know these ideas. Berkeley went further than most modern idealist philosophers are willing to go, by stating that all these ideas are part of God’s mind (meaning us, the world, the universe).
          His cardinal argument amounts to saying there is no difference between us and the external world as all objects and things, begin and end as ideas in the mind of God.

        3. I am rather careful when I hear “nothing but…”. The world rarely works that way.
          A position that external things are nothing but ideas in our minds is too extreme in my view and has its problems. How come that so many people has the same or very similar perception of things? I can understand and agree that all things are ultimately ideas in God’s mind. But does it mean they are only in our mind? Then God would have to implement the same ideas of things into all of us so they appear objective and external. And that’s kind of a stretch as there is a simpler solution — there is an objective external world which we perceive and there is a difference apart from the action of our perception.

        4. “here is an objective external world ” How do you know this. Can it be proved?
          ” How come that so many people has the same or very similar perception of things” This doesn’t invalidate anything I’ve said, besides, we use language as the common standard to denote objects that we generally have a common understanding about, but, these originate as ideas in our minds- they don’t exist out there- in the world.
          “I can understand and agree that all things are ultimately ideas in God’s mind. But does it mean they are only in our mind” Why is this so difficult to understand or believe. If you say things exist independently of a creator, you’re left asking what these things are and how do we know them. The only way is through our minds which perceive them as a certain ideas, so, we can’t use the independent, external world argument in a manner that implies its completely detached and removed from human cognition.

        5. How do I know there is an objective external world?
          1. Common sense. I am rather suspicious of philosophies that go against common sense.
          2. Nature of knowledge. No external world, no real knowledge because knowledge implies something external influencing my mind. Using that knowledge means me influencing the outside world and it works out. Notice that without the external objective standard there is no way you can judge something as true or false. All might be true then, even apparent contradiction.
          3. No external world, no knowledge means no other people, no self of mine, all just ideas i.e. representations of something non-existing. Sounds like a song from late Beatles.
          4. Which means you telling me I need a proof there is an external world is just another idea floating in my mind. Do I need a further proof? Aren’t common sense and nonsensical implication of other options enough?
          Ad paragraph 2: That we have common understanding of things is exactly one of the problems here. My objection perhaps does not invalidate what you said but I offer better explanation.
          Ad paragraph 3: I don’t see a problem with what things are and how we know them. A thing is a being, it exists and it has a form (idea). When my mind perceives an idea we can (quite safely) say there is a penetration of an external object into my mind. My mind takes a shape of that object i.e. its form. My mind becomes that object without losing its own form. Result of that process is called a knowledge.
          It means the external world isn’t completely detached and removed from human condition. There must be something similar both in me and in the external thing in order to interact. That something is the above mentioned idea or form. I have a form, the thing has a form. Form is sort of universal medium of knowledge. My form is sufficiently free to be molded by the thing into its own form (other forms might not be that flexible).
          This is completely different from the concept of ideas as images (things) floating in our mind. Such concept does not allow for any real interaction. It is, in a way, very similar to materialistic concept of dead particles clashing with each other without any interaction.

        6. Common sense is neither as common or as sensible as most people believe. It’s overrated and can led to a fatal dullness of mind and spirit.
          You use objective and external in a strangely interchangeable way. There in no external or objective knowledge about the world without a (subjective) perceiver in the first place, unless, you believe that it exists independently of us as a perception in the mind of some greater Being like God- and that’s Berkeley’s argument I guess.

        7. Common sense is not infallible and certainly not the final arbiter of everything. It’s just a good starting point for judging radical thoughts.
          The knowledge is subjective (as Aurelius points out in OP) but is based on objective order that is in the external world i.e. outside of us and independent of us.
          I am not well acquainted with Berkeley’s philosophy so I might get it wrong. It seems to me he comes dangerously close to saying that existence of all things or at least their orderliness is dependent on our minds. He seems to deny reality of things and reduce their existence to their forms (ideas).
          Nor am I satisfied with the notion that things exist independently of us only in God’s mind. This still denies them certain quality of their existence.

        8. ” It seems to me he comes dangerously close to saying that existence of all things or at least their orderliness is dependent on our minds. He seems to deny reality of things and reduce their existence to their forms (ideas)” Well that’s an excellent summation of his philosophy. His is often described as a radical, subjective idealist, out, his philosophy wrights heavily on empiricism too.
          He doesn’t deny the reality of things put rather puts their existence dependent on the role of an observer who perceives them. This is what makes his thoughts so prescient, considering the importance of the role of the observer in the classic double slit experiment in QT for example, where the role of determinability is posited by the role of the subjective observer.
          ” Nor am I satisfied with the notion that things exist independently of us only in God’s mind. This still denies them certain quality of their existence” Sure, lots of people would object to this notion, but, whatever way you split it you’re still let puzzling about the origin of ideas, especially abstract ones, like the actual laws of nature that only work by appealing to ideas and concepts that can not be said to be created by humans or innate ideas within the natural order of the world.

    2. The philosophers actually dealt with the perceptions of those asleep, insane or in altered states. Those perceptions are not as trustworthy as the perceptions of a sane and alert man, for making judgments about real events; but, all the major metaphysical and logical principles can actually proceed from them – the perception of being, the infallibility of the intellect, etc.

      1. Except for Saint Thomas Aquinas who had an altered/mystical state of consciousness near the end of his life where he dismissed all of he lofty philosophical thoughts (his life’s work) as mere “straw” in comparison to the insights he gained in those brief moments.
        Unlike you, I don’t believe that our waking consciousness has all the answers and insights in the profounder truths concerning reality. It’s mostly mechanical and functional in the manner it operates and in most people it’s similar to the autopilot setting in an Aircraft. However, if you want to to get a sense of flying and a feel for your Aircraft or get a feel for those deeper mysteries in life, you’ve got to go beyond the safe, perennially “sane” (meaning often mechanical) certitude of one’s automatic settings. You can live as a free man or as a robot. The choice is ours.

        1. I wouldn’t say he dismissed it, he just stopped writing. And I don’t conclude too much from this. God can make people see things through His eyes, so to speak, which isn’t the same as altered state of consciousness in the modern sense (like through drugs or meditation).

        2. Actually, he said everything he’d written was a mistake, which, was quite an admission for a man of his caliber and intellect to make.

        3. More precisely (at least according to what I read elsewhere) he said something like that after the experience everything he had written now seemed to him “like straw” which certainly isn’t as strong as “mistake”. He is Doctor of the Church after all meaning the Church surely doesn’t think that his teachings are mistaken.

        4. Ha! I certainly don’t believe our waking consciousness has all the answers and insights. I am just saying that it can know much more than modern people assume.
          I am myself very drawn to contemplative prayer, and I sympathize with Aquinas’ insight that, in the end, the light of Faith and of the Lumen Gloriae, which is a foretaste of the Beatific Vision, makes all our words about supernatural realities seem inadequate, and alters our perception of natural things as well. I even said so explicitly in my caption to the picture of St. Benedict’s vision, in the article.

        5. No, he didn’t say it was wrong. He had the same experience of most mystics – he realized how inadequate it was, such that, compared to what he had seen in his ecstasy, it seemed like a complete waste of time. It serves as a reminder to us that all the vast wisdom of the natural intellect, is merely the engraving on the front door to an entire temple of super-sensible glory.

  2. We can mathematically prove multiverses, dark matter, etc.. yet we still haven’t found a tangible record of the ‘soul’ or your ‘conscious’. Brain activity is electrical signals, for there to be a ‘soul’ there’d still need to be some tangible record of it within a person, as well as it moving to a different realm upon death. Otherwise it is just brain activity which begins at birth and ends at death.
    Also, time would have to be a flat circle, otherwise the afterlife would be filled with a bunch of geriatric dim-witted brains fresh from the nursing home.
    Elderly people completely lose their minds I don’t see how you could judge them in that state.
    The only way it holds true is if a God simply made it so advanced and out of our reach that we’re not meant to be capable of understanding the actual ‘mechanics’ of this physical realm.

    1. crack yourself in the head with a rock- you will know what conscious is…and that is the problem with folks. Prove water is water? I dare you.

    2. I think we will never find “material proof” for consciousness. Whatever that means. Think about it. Many think that consciousness can be explained purely with today’s materialism. Can it? What do you expect to find in the brain? Chemical reactions, electrical currents. That’s about it. Do you think any of these things magically “create consciousness”? I doubt it. For that would imply that physical forces create consciousness (four basic today known physical forces). So, an atomic bomb would be very conscious, for example, would it not?
      I like your point about the afterlife! Witty. That’s why I prefer the reincarnation ideas to heaven/hell.

      1. so really it’s all a big tease – as the ultimate evidence of God — individual conscience— is immeasurable. Despite being able to find atomic structure, the ‘soul’ is hidden to us and can’t be ‘discovered’ with any instruments.

        1. Well, if you take a closer look at the “scientific method”, it does not preclude non-materialistic arguments. Basically, it just requires a form of experiment which produces the results that are convincing.
          So if I tell you “Take two blotters of LSD and you will see what I mean” and you do it and indeed see what I mean, that is a valid scientific method as well.
          Buddha for instance (not that I agree with everything he wrote) said that he does not want anyone to blndly believe what he says. Rather, he proposed a path to follow; a path which would lead to the individual discovery of the very truths that are important.

        2. Individual conscience is not the evidence of God. Existence, i.e., Being itself, is.
          There are many immaterial things which cannot be directly detected with an instrument. You deduce their existence from other, certain principles.

        3. But there might be depths or heights that are not in our powers to reach. So we need help from outside or above…

        4. Someone once explained to me that Buddha taught something what can be called “a natural mysticism”. This is an experience we can achieve by ourselves, for example by using certain techniques. Then there is “supernatural mysticism” which is an experience that requires help from a supernatural being — God. Perhaps a bit simplistic explanation but basically correct, I believe.

        5. I doubt this is true. Or rather, I doubt that there is a meaningful distinction between “inside” and “outside”. Meditation basically brings you back to the awareness that you are indeed God. That you are everything. It becomes then nonsensical to say that one gets help from God.

        6. Expanding your self to the whole universe (or losing your self whatever you call it) doesn’t make you transcend the universe. It doesn’t make you God either.

        7. You think you can’t grasp these things through thinking? To answer your question: partly, I was involved in these things, had some minor experiences but no major breakthrough and knew some people who did. None of them described it as becoming God. Some of them did not believe in God at all.

        8. Thinking doesn’t do justice to many things (women for example) yet we think about them. Anyway, time to leave, too late for me.

      2. Buddhists believe a being can reincarnate in heaven or hell, as well as earthly planes. Actually they believe there are levels of heaven and hell, which coincides with the divine comedy. They believe that achieving buddahood is the only way to escape continuous reincarnation in all those realms. I’d imagine there are cases where it becomes very difficult to get out of hell, the deeper one gets.

      3. That’s quite correct; there can be no empirical proof of something immaterial. What is consciousness? What is life, for that matter? We see the effects of life, and of consciousness, but, what are they in themselves? How do we bottle them and measure them?
        We can’t. But obviously they exist.

    3. I take umbrage at you saying we can prove dark matter. This is because it seems to me Dark matter is one of those things scientists with government grants invented to prove their theories on the universe were correct because the “math” on those theories wasn’t adding up. Surprise after a few more years and more learning it became apparent that even with Dark matter the theories weren’t working. So Dark energy was invented. Now its Multiverses. Next who knows.

      1. right but even ‘God’s design’ would have a pattern we could find. for example, proving multiverses IMO gives credence to the idea of multiple realms of existence. What is discovered would match up with the idea of a creator.

      2. In economics they call it a statistical discrepancy, the amount of difference between expenditure and income when the objective and subjective elements of the GDP don’t balance.
        I also object to saying elderly people are dimwitted. Dimwitted elderly people were usually dimwitted young people.

    4. I strongly believe that after death is just like before birth: no awareness at all. Billions of years passed and so many events happened that I wasn’t aware of at all. So it will be after my death.

    5. The soul is immaterial and thus is not subject to empirical observation; its certain existence is deduced from metaphysical principles.

      1. Maybe because we haven’t invented the methods in order to perform the test, or we are not clever enough…

        1. You speak of being “clever” in order to find these new truths. Once more, you speak of something that is immaterial and cannot be measured in itself: “cleverness” or knowledge or wisdom are immaterial entities.

    6. The geriatric patients in nursing homes are doped up beyond belief. Some elderly folks on the outside remain sharp as a tack but it seems the excessive pharmaco doping in the retirement homes kills the soul.
      In native American Indian legend it was believed that tobacco kills the soul. Indians pawned tobacco off onto the palefaces and Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco back to the European kings. Within Raleigh’s lifetime, tobacco swept the globe like wildfire, like no other drug, not even opium or coca. Why? Why is tobacco considered the most addictive substance? The indians believed it killed the soul and you never saw an indian riding bareback smoking a big stogie did you? No they smoked the hoochie, the wacky terbaccie, the no-kay smokay. But not tobacco. Pot or the ‘peace pipe’ made the red man a little wacky but it didn’t kill their soul. Only tobacco does that presumably. I don’t know if the soul is killed bit by bit or if it’s sudden lights out, surprise like when you drag on your millionth cig and whamo, it’s over.
      It’s doubtful the soul vanishes or is deconstructed since the soul is indestructable, but life energy itself is extremely complex vibratory energy that exceeds the capacity of matter to maintain form as it approaches the speed of light. Matter becomes plasma at the speed of light but the soul is not constrained by a velocity threshold. The soul’s frequency and trajectory may be limitless by known physical standards.
      Beyond the threshold of matter the soul has little restraint in its complexity. It has a mind of its own. At that point, only a supreme regulatory energy force of a yet higher order could affect the soul or form a communicative feedback loop with it. Simple field energy lacks a defined mind to even comprehend such communion.
      On the downside – MOST LIKELY the soul and its component life energy which animates a living body will transmutate into energies of a lower order when the body succumbs to physical addiction. The soul then decelerates in frequency like a step down transformer lowers electrical ‘pressure’ and the electrical energy is then constrained to travelling only on the surface of a conductor and can no longer arc and travel free of being ‘grounded’ by physical restraints.
      A soul occupying a ‘vessel’ or body that is driven by addiction to certain organic substances with cancellatory frequencies can draw the soul down in frequency to where the soul is ‘step down’ transformed into the common lower energies, de pressurized, uncontained and now affected by physical matter and governed by gravity.
      So the soul gets watered down, sucked into the surrounding rocks and other assorted matter and eventually pulled into the nearest center of gravity, the Earth’s magma and core or ‘HELL’ if you will.
      Note – it’s funny how the white man took to tobacco but then we gave the indians firewater in return. It backfired for the indians with firewater. Alcohol was like anti-kratom for the indians and it fucked them up royally.
      I once heard of a wretched old hag being wheeled into a hospital for surgery. She had lung cancer and emphysema. She had an oxygen cannister with tubes up her nostrils and she was smoking a cigarette as she entered the hospital. She swore like a demon from hell when the nurses took the cigarette out of her mouth before entering the hospital. I’d say she had long since lost her soul. Also the old folks in nursing homes who are placed on certain kinds of pharmaco dope I believe can lose their souls in the same way. You know when they’re gone as in ‘no one home’.

  3. In attempting to reconcile arguments for a priori and a posteriori knowledge, I came to what I call the pattern theory of the mind.
    We can readily observe that people quickly form patterns of behavior and thought based on things they experience (whether through teaching, logic, or raw experience). As we begin to contemplate those things we ourselves believe and/or do, we begin to realize that we know few particulars but still know the generalities. This leads us to realize that we are pattern-making creatures.
    It reconciles well with IQ, which is a measure of the ability to quickly identify, formulate, reformulate, and discard patterns. It explains habits – they are patterns of behavior which are hard to destroy without sufficient contradiction to cause the mind to overwrite an established pattern. And it explains why even such creative ideas as Cthulhu look like things we see on earth – we cannot create patterns off that which is not experienced.
    I will not say this is a brilliant theory, but it does seem to reconcile a host of phenomena.

    1. Ordered patterns are an instinctive part of nature. However, we don’t observe or create the underlying mathematical principles which underpin at this, which means that reality is created from what we call the “laws of nature” that determine life with its intricate patterns.
      We’re still left pondering at the fact these abstract principles which are critical to the creation of life cannot be mere creations of the human mind, even though they create human life.

      1. Even math is merely a model by which we represent reality. We say “two plus two equals four” because every time we take two things and add two more we get four things. We have no reason to change the model, though, because we do not ever experience two objects and two more objects producing five or three objects.
        Reality is. We say the universe follows mathematical principles, but that is just a way to say the mathematic models we apply appear to accurately express what happens in reality.
        The greatest freedom provided by this model is the freedom to realize that everything we think we know could be bounded. It’s the same way electricity behaves in the various semiconductor configurations – they really behave in ways only expressible with high-order differential equations, but we bind the model to certain limits in order to make it easier to work with (linear).
        EDIT: I use “model” to mean that which represents reality without itself being reality. In the mind, this tends to consist of patterns and references (2 + 2 = 4, for example, contains both the pattern itself and reference to the concepts of 2, 4, +, and =).

        1. Math is a game. A game is something where fixed rules are set, therefore you can have certitude. For you defined the rules.
          1 plus 1 is always 2.
          And yet, in real life, we can surely think of an example where 1 plus 1 equals 3 in the end. Think of a male and a female specimen of some species coming together and producing a child.
          Of course, that “is not math”. Well, it’s not the math we know and learned, anyhow. This is not part of the rules, so we would discard it as nonsense.

        2. From the perspective of this model of the mind, it could be said that all models (once defined) resist exceptions until they prove overwhelming. So the exception in which 1 man + 1 woman = 3 people (man + woman + baby) exists, but the model is sufficiently established that we resist allowing that to “count”.
          We see much the same from kids on the playground. We all knew (or were) the kid who found a loophole in something like kickball. The other kids would say, “You can’t do that!” and the one would say, “The rules don’t SAY you can’t do that.” This is the pattern resisting challenges.
          So, even games fit under the theory, because what is a game but a set of patterns?

        3. Haha, nice! Indeed, there is something to it.
          But then, I can accept that 1 plus 1 is 3 is invalid. Why? Because I accept that when we say “math”, then we simply mean a particular form of “game” with specific rules.
          That is not to say that I discard the idea of 1 plus 1 is 3. I would simply not call that “math”, I guess. I would say it is not math, but it is, from a certain perspective, still a valid expression.
          Interesting analogy with the kids. That’s the “problem” with laws, I suppose. They just cannot detail every single possibility. Some counter the problem by saying that our laws need to become more precise. That would be a typical Ayn Randian perspective. I think that it would actually help to deregulate and destandardize and deprocedurize a bit and simply leave matters to spontaneous intuitive decisions.

        4. It has interesting ramifications on law and interpretation.
          To borrow Scott Adam’s example, leftists operate on the model that people with guns are messed up and dangerous, because they tend to be messed up and dangerous. “Gun Nuts”, on the other hand, operate on the model that leftists with guns are messed up and dangerous, so they want guns to defend themselves and those around them. However, both share one common pattern in their models – they don’t want people to get killed by insane leftists (though the left usually doesn’t realize it’s generally leftists who are so dangerous).
          To work with your statements, I operate on the model that laws should be relatively broad and simple, so I oppose several thousand page tax codes and legislation and favor general-purpose rules like “Thou shalt not commit murder, and he who commits murder shall be himself killed swiftly and in plain view of the people.” Many operate on the model that laws should be excessively precise, so that there is no variance in implementation – they hate the simple rules and favor virtually unreadable legislation that spells out every possible nuance. The basic discrepancy that prompts such a model is that I fear the law (because it is the power of the sword to punish) and the others love the law (for the same reason I fear it).
          It’s an interesting way to look at things, because when I see patterns I can start to see the elements that produce patterns.

        5. Well, the problem is that when you have a simple law, you have to compensate for it by somebody who interprets it in a just way that is adequate to the situation at hand. Thus, you avoid situations like when people get punished for some ridiculous nonsense in a very strong and unreasonable manner. Written law can not account for such nuances, but somebody who just calmly looks at the situation can indeed.
          In fact, I dare say the nuanced law is more in danger of being unjust, for it fosters the belief that it is perfect as it is and that the word as it is written is to be taken literally in every case. Whilst in a land of simple rules, it would be obvious to anyone to apply common sense and intuition to find a good solution.
          Strict adherence to rules is why cops took away my computers even though I was able to explain to them perfectly why that was not necessary. They simply followed their stupid procedure. Guess what the success rate of their investigations is. One of them told me. Around 13% or even lower. A bit like game, eh.
          But these procedures do one thing, as I said: Foster the belief in the law’s omnipotence and in the lawmaker’s omniscience. They take away my computers and say “it goes to forensics!”. In my mind, associations with CSI:Miami come up and I imagine total geniuses inspecting my computers with a superior impeccable intellect, coming up with trace evidence that no one would have even thought of. While in reality, they simply put my computer in a room behind a door with the label “forensics” and then they start, one by one, copying my hard drives like anyone else would. And I mean, WHAT THE FUCK ELSE would they do?
          And the fact that I actually offered to give them the files that they were hoping to find makes this totally ridiculous and pointless. Because they actually did not even find those files. But those files were really there. Idiots. See, if a policeman was a man with power and responsibility, he would be appointed to a case, and would have the power to reasonably decide how much diligence is necessary. Instead, they follow rules. And to me they say “I can’t decide this”, because authority. “Muh, rules are rules, blah blah”. It creates dumb people. And those people we trust. Right. Our friend and helper are “authorities” who can not even decide to not further pursue a stupid cause. And in the end, you know what, there was not even any proof that the crime I was accused of actually happened. ALL of those problems could have been solved with a person that has responsibility and common sense and no strict obedience to rules.
          The only thing people can hope to get through complicated laws is “equal treatment”. But let’s face it, the idea is ridiculous. Situations are so fucking different from each other that that is just an illusion.

        6. All the laws of science are merely approximations of how we believe reality behaves under certain circumstances. If you change the circumstances, exceptional things occur, and so we get the exception to the rule.
          So, yes you’re kind of correct when you rebel against a given law or rule as essentially you’re not questioning nature or its laws but rather humanity’s beliefs (the current scientific paradigm) about nature which are only general approximations.

        7. No, it’s not math in any sense. It’s biology. You may say that this is because we have defined the terms “math” and “biology.” I would say we have defined separate terms for them, because the combination of units as they are, is different from the biological genesis of new units from separate units.
          We have not invented the rules for math, we have only invented the terms for the units and the operations. Anybody can perceive that the addition of units, the subtraction of units, the multiplication and division of units, and other mathematical operations and truths, exist of themselves. We merely invent a symbolic language to help us speak about these self-evident quantities and operations. We don’t otherwise invent any of the rules.

    2. thoughtful but how on earth did you manage to squeeze Chtulu into a post about a priori / a posteriori knowledge?

  4. Morality is inherently psychological, not philosophical in nature. One can argue what is right, however one must always have an originating basis for that claim, be it God, people’s feelings, my own desires, etc. An argument from morality will always be circular in nature. The question the theist must ask himself is not inherently what is right, but how do people come to believe certain things are right and certain things are wrong.
    God has gifted us with a conscience because emotions are what guide our experience. Logic is merely a tool to perceive things as they truly are.
    People don’t make a logical decision to want to stay living. It’s ingrained in them. God didn’t make a logical decision to send His son down from heaven. It was out of love.
    Logic is the acquirer, emotion and experience is the framer.
    I say this because here at RoK, we seem to get into analyses of why certain groups of people believe certain things and, though we take certain things as being true based on an assortment of facts, we oftentimes hold our opponents to logical standards they don’t care to understand or follow.
    The average Western person, especially the Western woman, argues based on what they think should be right on an emotional level and will attack like a rabid dog anyone who denies them on the basis of them being “assholes” or whatever epithet they care to use.
    On another note, common sense is a lie invented by humans to use as a cudgel to insult their opponents. Common sense would dictate matter be solid in nature. This ignores the not-so-apparent phenomenon of electromagnetism. One must base ones assertions on raw facts, not emotional appearances or commonly held wisdom.

    1. <<fb. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!il81r:….,….

    2. On women, man has known this for millenia. It is only now in our post modern cesspool of weakness that men actually believe women to be their equal.
      Logic and women do not go together. So stop treating them as if they could even understand. Their biological drives prove that women do not care for a man’s logic.
      She responds to his dominance. Women are a reflection of the men they are around.

      1. “Logic and women do not go together.”
        Indeed. I recently went out with some females that i worked with and one said, talking about her boyfriend, that she did not like him at the beginning…yet, went out with him. The mind boggles.

    3. Logic, thought, is also an experience. I never understand why people think “feelings” are experiential, and thought is not.
      You speak about an originating basis for the claim of morality. That is the realm of philosophy; I don’t see how your distinction between the psychological and the philosophical is accurate.
      The argument for morality is not circular at all, as I hinted at in the article. It resolves neatly into first, metaphysical and logical principles. These are in themselves indemonstrable, but, not because they are not evident; rather, because they are self-evident, or contain within themselves the demonstration of their truthfulness.

      1. “because they are self-evident, or contain within themselves the demonstration of their truthfulness.”
        Are you a presuppositionalist?

  5. The left denies that anything is wrong morally so use it against them. example- For every Black Lives Matter; shove it in their faces that White Lives matter.. and start an org to show the hippocracy of their nature. That is the only way to stop the left. This is the real war in America. The lefist equalism mantra – but only for their “societal created” to their benefit conditions; like feminism, gayism and all the rest of their 2faced ism. Their is no morality in the left; its like telling a rock to move.

    1. Yes; their own premises are relativistic and nihilistic. So, use it against them. If they complain, just point that they shouldn’t judge, they have no right to tell you want to think or do, perhaps they are wrong about everything, they should stop being so bigoted and judgmental, etc.

  6. Wow great article we missed you by the way! After reading this I know exactly what you are talking bout. I see the same gnawing self doubt in almost every man on the right side of things things I meet. In their hearts they know what’s right but years of indoctrination have filled them with second guesses and weakness. We need the fire of certitude to burn this effeminacy out of us so we can be prepared for what is to come.

  7. You write dangerously well. Reading this article makes me – someone who likes to doubt every little shit – feel like a degenerate psychopath who is inflicting evil on God’s inherent truth.
    Now, you will argue that this is my personal perception and not a result of your writing. That my perception in and of itself affirms the truth you spew. Maybe this is so. Maybe not. Surely that can be left to doubt. For to deny the efficacy of rhetorics would be to deny the world we live in, would it not?
    “Certainty is not an emotive feeling, but an awareness of knowing the truth; feeling strongly about something has nothing to do with certainty. It is produced when, upon sufficient reflection on the evident facts, the mind realizes that a certain thing is true, producing a compelling intellectual adherence.”
    Just one question. And I have asked this many people many times already.
    How do you measure this “intellectual adherence” if not by some form of perception, by some kind of “feeling of adherence”? Naturally, I am not talking about some overwhelming euphoria here. It may just be this very subtle sublime warmth enveloping the back of the head. But if you reflect on this adherence thing, it must be some form of perception. If it wasn’t, you would be unable to write about it. So what is it exactly? Surely one is allowed to try to take this thing apart further.
    For I have had this discussion also on here on ROK with somebody who asked me: What makes a statement true? For example, what makes the statement “I have written this statement” true? It seems deceivingly seductive to say: Now, that’s stupid. It simply is.
    But is that all there is to it?

    1. I would say not to take the characterisation too far. What you are sensing is very different from your typical modern being described who “feels a connection” to a local psychic or an online boyfriend or their new cat.
      There should be a sense of satisfaction and contentment when one apprehends truth. But that should only feed further inquiry and a deeper desire for more of it.

    2. Well, you’re quite right to observe that our modern language about emotions and feelings is sloppy.
      All I was saying, is that certainty is more of a calm, intellectual apprehension; we are aware of it, and may feel a certain calm, a certain satisfaction, a certain feeling of “conviction.” But many people don’t waste time on the intellectual; they feel everything; it’s “a gut instinct.”
      Sometimes if I discuss religion or politics with someone, it becomes clear that they have visceral emotional ties and a reaction which will even lash out against obvious facts that can be perceived by the intellect. I spoke with my mother about Hillary Clinton last week; she “didn’t believe” that she had lied; she was upset; when I suggested that she watch a short youtube video that compared her many false statements to congress and the American people with Comey’s flat contradictions of what she said. “You can make it look like people said anything nowadays,” she said, with a wave of the hand, “I don’t believe for a second that a woman who has given her whole life to helping others, would act with such dishonesty.”
      My mother was emotionally upset; she was “sure” that Hillary couldn’t be so bad. I was emotionally upset, disgusted with my own mother, furious at Hillary for getting away with corruption and murder, angry at the collapse of the rule of law in my country…
      But, my certainty that Hillary is a liar is something different from the many emotions I feel; it is simply a perception, an apprehension, of my state of being; this produces feelings, perhaps, but they are secondary. For my mother, her primary frame of reference is emotional; she “feels” her sureness about Hillary not lying more strongly than I “feel” my certainty that she is a liar. For my mother, her “sureness” is only a feeling. For me, it is an apprehension that is “sensed” more than “felt,” in the emotional sense.
      How is a “sense” of certainty different from a “feeling” of sureness? Maybe this can begin to explain it: the tradition on the soul is that its power is diffused through the appetitive, incensive and intellective aspects. The appetitive is desire; the incensive is will; the intellect is perception. I don’t know that an operation of the soul ever proceeds purely from one aspect without any contact with the others (that may be the case, I just don’t know, yet); but in any case, intellectual certainty is primarily in the intellect – i.e., it is primarily a perception, which at most attracts the consonant pleasure of the will and appetite. But emotional “sureness,” quite apart from any real truth, is primarily in the appetite (it is what one wants to believe, rather than what truth compels one to believe), and makes only such use of the intellect as is necessary to formulate a self-aware thought. It is not that feeling is entirely absent in either case; it’s just that in one the feeling overthrows reason, and in the other the intellectual apprehension orders the feelings.

  8. There is a doubt which comes from the intellect, which evaluates logically and determines the certainty from evidence, and there is the doubt from the will which rejects evidence.
    Our Lord didn’t say take and understand, he said take and eat, this is my body, take and drink, this is my blood. The accident is not always the substance.
    While we ought to begin with rational doubt, we cannot end there. We must journey up the mountain with an uncertain treasure map, but when we are there, we must look for the treasure – which might not appear as we would have preconceived – at the spot marked X

  9. ATTENTION ROK READERS – our good monk is verifying the many manosphere beliefs herein, where the collective coolminded observation of political and sexual common sense is supported by the philospophers and religious men of old. A key task for all: exorcise all emotion and situational bias first!!

  10. Another modern intellectual and philosophical triumph, outclassing the flaccid attempts at logical argumentation I’ve seen over at Huffpo by lightyears. You tie things up neatly: The modern left works to circumvent our innate common sense, overwriting it with their own algorithms (“Common sense” gun laws? Whut?).
    Thanks again Brother, congratulations and Godspeed on your studies.
    You may hear my confession someday, the first worthy priest to confess to in many decades.

    1. Too kind. You should confess to some of the priests I know. I’ll be lucky to be half so worthy as them, some day.
      Yes; Western man needs to find his common sense, then his conviction, then his balls, then his guns and ammo.

    2. Of course, the sacraments maintain their efficacy and grace despite the worthiness of the minister. I could be getting my saint stories mixed up again, but I believe it was Francis of Assisi who would deliberately seek out notoriously sinful priests to confess to, in order to remind himself and his men that it is Christ who is at truly work in the sacrament and to confound the heretics of his time who believed otherwise.
      We do need Holy Priests though! Pray for them. Pray for me.

  11. ” Surely an angel, for example, perceives the ball in some other way”
    I don’t even perceive angels. At all.

  12. Just wanted to say thinks Aurelius for everything you’ve done here, this piece being another outstanding article. If there has been anyone these last few years, who has almost driven me back to my original faith, it would be you brother. Though I wish you well in your new undertaking, your contributions here will be greatly missed.
    Modern man is truly lost, he has no way to steer him. No compass to lead him. Everything his grandpa fought for is now considered bigoted and wrong. Everything he once believed just ten years past is now considered bigoted and wrong. He is a slave to the weaknesses of his own mind. A slave to his dick. Thus a slave to himself.
    I once found great pride in being so sure in my uncertainty. Truly a modern man in every way. Arrogant even, of knowing more of nothing, than whom I was arguing with. Prideful of nothing. Doer of nothing. This is the modern man. lost to his own sureity of uncertainty.
    May we all be better.
    Thanks brother!

    1. Thanks for the kind words; knowing that I help anybody shake free of Modernism is the best reward I get from my writing.
      “Almost” driven you back to your original Faith?
      What’s still holding you back?

      1. Thanks for your reply sir. There are many things holding me back. Partly my personality, I seem to question everything, keeping me from going all the way in. To be honest, I enjoy this to an extent, and don’t think that its necessarily a part of my Modernist mind, just happens to be how I’ve always been.
        With that being the case, this last year I decided to dive into Marxism, and all its hellish Hegelian nonsense, to try to get a grasp on what is wrong with our modern world. Perhaps this was backwards, but to me, figuring out what I didn’t believe in, put me one step closer to the finishing line of that which I could believe in. So I dove in, headfirst, like a madman on a mission, and couldn’t believe what I found. Hegel, Marx, Gramsci, the Frankfurt school, etc. It seemed everything I hated about the modern West came from these men.
        So that being said, this last year has been a revolutionary road for me, yet I have much to figure out on my journey, especially my spiritual journey. I feel at this point, somewhat like Roosh. I see the goodness of the old ways, and their many truths (especially for the posterity for western civilization), but I don’t know if I really believe in any of it.
        And I if I did want to return, what church should I choose? Which then leads me to my bigger question, which Jesus should I choose? Should I choose the historical Jewish Jesus, the Roman Jesus, the Greek Jesus, the hippy Jesus (just kidding, I hate that one) but really, I have no idea, and I’ve read too much to really be decisive on this matter.
        In my readings, there seems to be very good evidence that the real Jesus, didn’t even intend to start a new religion, just wanted to reform the old one, and complete it with the Novum Testamentum, and bring the gentiles into the fold. Fair enough. Historical evidence seems to support this thesis. Even after Acts 15, gentile converts were still living a somewhat Jewish lifestyle, Sabbaths and Jewish holidays, for there was no Christian holidays as of yet, and of course, their bible would of been the Torah (Jesus’ Bible), as the New Testament wasn’t even around, except for a few Christian letters scattered here and there. It appears to me, (and history seems to show) that the Christian church as we know it, didn’t really exist until quite after the fact.
        Does this mean I have a problem with the Catholic church historically, or Greek Orthodox? Not necessarily. Just trying to show you my mindset, and let that be that. I really have no idea what I would choose if I had to make a forced choice, and don’t even get me started on the Modern Protestant abominations.
        Just writing the word ‘abominations’ makes me ask yet another question I’ve always had. Another problem I have with the God of the bible, or at least how He is portrayed is this. Christians say that the old law has passed away, and that we have a new law in Christ, aka, we can all eat pork now! But how can this be when God used the same word abomination for pork as for homosexuality? Did God change his mind? Is God a women? And how can I respect a God like this? And if the Hebrew Jesus ever preached that this law had changed (which I don’t think he did), by that very same law (the Torah), he is not the messiah. But I digress…
        Needless to say, man’s illogical theology has always driven me away from god, but maybe God never has. Perhaps this should be my starting point. But you Sir, contrary to what I’ve just wrote (ha!) have helped me see the light in another way, by giving the via ad regnum Dei logic and reason, and giving hope that I might find the truth one day; wherever that may lead. And for that I thank you!
        Sincerely
        Hope this doesn’t sound like I arguing with you in anyway, because I wasn’t, but you did ask what’s holding me back!
        Peti et dabitur tibi

        1. I’m looking forward to our good Brother’s response here, but I’ll weigh in on one of your difficulties with God’s will.
          Revelation in our tradition is something that takes place over time. The Jews were grasping at truths that were yet fully illuminated – this is done in Christ, and after his Ascension into heaven, through the Church he founded on the Apostles. So as much as God doesn’t change his mind, he does – in his wisdom – give different teachings at different times. Either to differentiate them and protect his people from other hostile and threatening cultures, or for a particular time, conditioned by certain environmental factors. Think of a father not allowing his children outside after 6pm. Or not letting them drink alcohol. When they get older and they understand the foundations of these simple and primitive teachings, they are allowed to partake (armed with knowledge and temperance as given by the Spirit).
          I’ll leave it there! With every blessing friend.

        2. QeV,
          I’m sorry; I didn’t see your reply until today. I can tell you have honest questions and are not simply being argumentative – and, as you point out, I did ask!
          Obviously, to dive into the many things you mention would take one or several books. But I’ll offer some brief thoughts, that may give you some inspiration for a direction of further enquiry.
          Yes, learning about the Modern world and the ideologies thereof, can be shocking. For me, it played a large role in my conversion to the Catholic Faith. From Protestantism, to the “Age of Enlightenment,” to Socialism/Communism, etc., it has all been a systematic attack on the Catholic Faith and the basic premises of Natural Law (which, together, comprise the entire body of Truth available to man). While the assault becomes less explicitly anti-Catholic in each reiteration, the inner party’s fixation upon the Church is present throughout. Only after the Church was successfully eclipsed by their co-opting of the institutions formerly belonging to Catholicism, did the final phase – Social/Cultural Marxism, Deconstructionism, the “transvaluation of values” (i.e., radical relativism and totalitarian anti-realism) proceed apace. The Church is not just something which opposes and is opposed by modernity; the Church emerges, for the careful student of Modern history, as the sole nemesis of the current “abomination of desolation.” I became a Catholic, largely, because I saw that of all the churches and institutions, the battle-lines of the war between good and evil, are drawn right through her bosom.
          As to “which Jesus:” I have never found any research on “the historical Jesus,” which was remotely convincing to me, in terms of overturning the Jesus of the Church. For me, the question is relatively simple: the people who knew Jesus best, were His Blessed Mother and the Holy Apostles. The Apostles taught about this Man everywhere they went, and, while we see that the early Church had some disagreements on how, precisely, to understand His divinity, the fact that He was a God-Man was clear to them all. All the “Historical Jesus” scholarship I read, is highly speculative and is usually driven by obviously revisionist agendas. Seriously, go and read the Apostolic Fathers, and other Christian writings from before the legalization of Christianity. You will find that the Syriacs, Antiochians, Alexandrians, Romans, etc., were not advancing different concepts of Jesus; the competing historical Jesuses are a figment of revisionist scholarship.
          What evidence do you find, that suggests Jesus simply wanted to reform the old one? Jesus is very explicit in the Gospel of St. Matthew: “upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will never overcome it.” “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.” He spoke of Himself likewise as a King, bringing a new Kingdom, with subjects of His own. His Sermon on the Mount is entirely designed to emphasize the fulfillment of the Old Law in something better: “You have heard it said, ‘an eye for an eye,’ but I say…” or again, “Moses allowed you divorce for your hardness of heart, but I say that whoever divorces his wife and marries another, is an adulterer.” The Law of Moses was given by God; it cannot simply be amended by a prophet-reformer; for Jesus to make this claim, is tantamount to proclaiming Himself God. This is the radical implication of all of Jesus’ statements renovating the Old Law.
          The Old Law itself pointed towards this: Moses said God would one day send another greater than himself: “hear Him,” he advised! The Old Testament is full of statements about an eventual fulfillment of the Law, and a coming day when the Law will not be written on the page, but “written on the heart.” The Jews themselves expected a Messiah, and as Christ pointed out, many of these prophecies pointed towards the Messiah not being a mere man (“Why is the Messiah called the Son of David, when David calls Him ‘my Lord?’”), but God Incarnate (“Emmanuel – God with us”), virgin-born, doomed to suffer. So, there is great reason to see Jesus’ mission as the expected, Messianic renovation of man’s relationship with God in a New Covenant that fulfilled and then transcended the Old.
          And, related, that is why the early Christians were able to operate without a Bible for almost 400 years. While Scripture is inspired and therefore of inestimable value, it is the Jew who slaves away with a covenant written in a book and deduced by interpretation; in the Church, the Holy Ghost is poured out upon men and is especially vested in the ministers, ordained by the Apostles and their successors. It is the New Covenant; the Church Herself is the authority of God on Earth, as even the Scriptures say: the Apostles are vested with the divine power to forgive sins, to bind things on earth and in heaven, and to administer the Church, which is “the pillar and foundation of the Truth.” Christ Himself orders His followers to obey the Church, or to be ejected like heathens and IRS agents. Protestantism is Judaized; they are people of the book; but the Church is the people of sacramental union with God in the Body of Christ.
          I am not sure what kind of Jewish lifestyle you think converts were leading, so I’d be interested in hearing more of that. In any case, three points of context are important: 1) the Old Covenant pointed to the New, and the early Church quickly moved from using the customs of the Old as understood in the New, to developing customs that were designed to highlight the fulfillment of the Old in the New (if that’s not too confusing); 2) St. Peter’s vision, the Council of Jerusalem, etc. in the book of Acts, all indicate that the early Christians understood Jewish customs to be optional at best; 3) the early Church faced a powerful and heretical sect of Judaizers in its first years, and the extirpation of this error is the focus of much of St. Paul’s preaching. So, when he mentions that Christians are doing this, usually he is excoriating them, or encouraging them not to use such customs as a pretext for the loss of charity. This is the context of the enduring presence of Jewish customs in the early Church. I’m not aware of anything, that would lead us to conclude that early Christians were just reformed Jews.
          In fact, I will say that if you start reading the Apostolic Fathers, as I did, you will see that the early Christians held to beliefs that are easily described as Catholic. The veneration of relics and the celebration of Mass on the Saints’ Feast Days, the veneration of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the organized hierarchy of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, the primacy of the Roman Church and its bishop, a kind of primitive form of Indulgences, etc., are already in place in the earliest writings. I think the historical evidence is very much in favour of the early Christians holding the Catholic Faith; only the Orthodox have a similarly plausible claim to represent the continuation of the early Christian religion, and this is because the Orthodox Faith is so close to the Catholic. I am sure you will see this very clearly, if you read the Loeb edition of the Apostolic Fathers, and the writings generally of Ss. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Jacob of Nisibis, Methodios of Olympos, Gregory Thaumatourgos, Ephrem the Syrian, etc.
          The Old Law was given by God to serve the political, cultural, moral, theological and even hygienic needs of the Hebrews. Christ fulfilled the Old Law and, as I said, wrote the New Law in the hearts of the faithful. I would generally agree with what Fr. Joel wrote, below; St. Paul says as much in the New Testament – i.e., that “the Law was a pedagogue unto Christ” (a pedagogue in those days, was a man who led children to school). The Old Law was a pedagogue to Christ; in Christ it is fulfilled, and a New Law is given. The Natural Law is always the same, in Old and New Testaments (so, for example: homosexuality is always morally evil); the Divine Law is the same in itself, but is administered differently in the Old and New Covenants (i.e., God should be worshipped as He wishes to be worshipped; in the Old Law rites of sacrifice prefigured the Passion of the Christ, which in the New Law is re-presented at each Mass); Canon Law and Civil Law are left to the judgment of the Church, especially of the clergy in the former and the civil authorities in the latter, within the bounds of Natural and Divine Law. Whereas the Ceremonial Law of the Jews was given by God and was unalterable because the Old Law did not actually sanctify, illumine or divinize the people (so, bans on mold and pork and such like were always in effect), the Canon Law and Civil Law of the New Covenant can be changed by the spirit-led prudence of the hierarchs. The Apostles did this in the Council of Jerusalem in the book of Acts; and the notion that the proper authorities can change civil law (but not in such a way as to contradict sound morals, etc.), is easily understood without much theological explanation.
          In any case, I can appreciate the integrity and sincerity of your search for the truth. I’m someone who shares the desire to see that everything is consistent, that everything has moral and intellectual integrity. If my opinion is worth anything, I’ll conclude with this summation: there is every reason to believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ; there is no compelling reason to believe a revisionist view of Jesus or of the beliefs and practices of early Christians; there is a clear, logical coherence which underlies the seemingly different legal and moral proscriptions in the Old and New Testaments/Covenants; the sincere seeker of truth will find that this is all easily verifiable in the primary sources of early Christianity, Scriptural and otherwise.

        3. Carissimus frater meus, gratias tibi ago
          You have written very much to ponder and reflect on here, which I will surely do. I still have many questions before I make a jump towards any kind of faith in particular. It seems I need more reading for a greater understanding to do just that.
          I’m busy tonight, so I don’t have much time to write back, but I will say this. Maybe it it my protestant background, but I find the history of the church amusing to say the least. It seems obvious to me, that often the changes that took place, changes to Christianity that is, were for other reasons than just, “This is what God wants.”
          One example, the change of the Passover date, which was celebrated by the Jews and yes, even the early Christians. I have read accounts of Saint John celebrating not on Easter, but according to the law of the Jews, the Law of Jesus, his teacher.
          This is from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Which I’ve read a good bit of). Apollinaris quotes, roughly 180AD. “The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb”
          Maybe he’s wrong, who am I to know? Maybe the church has the authority to do this, but why? Would not his disciples know better than us?
          Another example, from Polycarp of Smyrna
          “And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect”
          And last of all, good Saint Paul says, “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.”
          By most accounts of historical Christianity, Paul here would be a “Judaizer.” He’s living under the law! And encouraging others to do the same! I’m being honest here Sir, this stuff is crazy to me. Who is right? Who is wrong? It’s a logical fallacy to say, to do Passover on the same date as the Jews, is living under the law (whatever that means?) but at the same time demand that everyone must keep the new holidays and feasts of the Church, Christmas, Easter etc. is not not under the law. And believe me, my old Church thought you guys (Catholics) were under the law too. Heh, The insanity never ends, to bad too when I guy like me is trying to seek the truth.

        4. My biggest point here is this, maybe it doesn’t matter if the church changed things, but my question is why? It doesn’t make sense to me. I’ll end with this last thought.
          In all of history, if one was to practice a religion, or philosophy, etc. They would try to imitate the founder of that religion etc. Even great business men have done this with the great entrepreneurs of the past. I’ve read quite a few of their biographies. They would want to know for instance, when he got up in the morning, what he read in the morning, what his thoughts were for the day, and how he would organized his day around those thoughts. In such and such a way, imitate him.
          Hell I did this a while back with Thomas Jefferson, I thought he was a genius, I still do. So, I wanted to know what made him great, when did he wake up, what did he do the first thing in the morning, what did he read, how did he learn so many languages, etc. Funny how some of his ideas led me away from the faith. heh!
          What I’m getting to is this, when it comes to other religions, If you’re a Buddhist, you try to imitate Buddha, if you’re a Muslim, you try to imitate Muhammad and his teachings, but with Jesus, you imitate Paul (or supposedly imitate him, I’m not sure what the historical Paul would think of all of this).
          But who knows, sometimes this all seems like madness, which is why I stopped believing in the first place.
          Well that was longer than expected, and now I have to go. Once again, I had no intention to offend, just a man with many questions that never seem to end. Obviously I had to cut that short, but back to real world!
          You don’t have to reply, I know you’re busy, and it seems I need to read a hundred more books or so before I can figure this out.
          Anyways
          I wish you the best Aurelius in your next endeavor! Thanks for the great articles over the last few years, and for giving me many a thing to ponder on.
          Sincerely
          vade in pace

        5. I’m sorry, I don’t know why my notifications hasn’t notified me of your replies these past few times. Maybe it has, but I somehow missed them?
          In any case:
          You’re correct to point out, that there were differences of opinion in the Church in ancient times – there still are, on some points, but by the very nature of the Apostolic Deposit and the development of Tradition under the Holy Ghost, what was once less clear becomes clear over time. So, things that were once matters of free debate have become settled, and cannot piously be called into question. And this is what Christ said: “when He comes (the Holy Ghost), He shall lead you into all truth.”
          So, for example, there was some debate in the early Church about whether gentiles had to observe the customs of Judaism. There was some in-fighting about it. The Apostles met together in a council, and from that came a clear statement of the practice and teaching of the Church. In the early Church, there was a minority custom amongst some (in Asia Minor, Gaul and the British Isles), tracing its lineage back to St. John in Asia Minor, of celebrating the Pasch on the same day as Passover. And, of course, in a real sense the Church would agree that all days are equally holy, even though there is much spiritual benefit in the marking of different days and the passage of time and seasons, and therefore in an equally real and true sense, we can say that some days are particularly hallowed (and St. Paul expresses the simultaneous truth of both views in Scripture, as well). Indeed, the hallowing of days and seasons is what God prescribed from antiquity, and is strongly implied in His creation of different seasons, and the passage of time. Yet, there was danger to the early Church of Judaizing by simply doing exactly what the Jews did. Over time, and especially as the presence of ethnic Jews in the Church was eclipsed by Gentile converts, and after the decision of the Jerusalem Council (in Acts), this danger abated and the Church quickly settled on keeping certain days, and keeping them all together to represent the oneness of mind and spirit in the Church. The issue was not entirely resolved until the 7th century, really, since the Celts still kept St. John’s custom until the Roman legates informed them of the by-then official and universal custom.
          It would be a mistake to view the Fathers of the Church, especially in the early days, as a kind of “second Bible” – i.e., just a bunch of textual data, in which one expects to find the full and complete doctrine on any given point within a pithy phrase or short passage of text. The rule of Faith is attested to in the morally unanimous consensus of the Fathers; the Rule of Faith itself, is the official teaching of the Church, which interprets and exposits the substance of the Apostolic Faith for our belief. Everything essential and important is already present and implicit in the early Fathers; but most of it will become much more explicit as time goes on, and it is by the gradually coalescing clarity of the Church’s mind and authoritative teaching, that this development is authenticated.
          For example; already in the Apostolic Church, there is the practice of collecting the relics of the martyrs, and celebrating the Eucharist over them on the anniversary of their martyrdoms. Likewise, there is already the practice of prescribing certain penances for those who have committed grave sins, before admitting them to Communion. Likewise, there is the practice of sending grave sinners to the martyrs in prison, asking them to offer their prayers and martyrdom to God on behalf of the grave sins of the penitent; in exchange for this, many such penitents were completely released from doing any kind of penance, or were given a much lighter penance.
          Now, over time, as the Church reflected on these practices of the Apostolic age, the contours clearly emerged of the cult of the Saints, the requirements to be recognized as a Saint, the practice of putting martyrs’ relics under every altar (hinted at in Revelation 6:9), the doctrine of the Sacrament of Confession, and the doctrine on the merits of the Saints and indulgences.
          As new doctrines become clear, new questions may open up, but many more things cease to be matters of debate. So, for example, the Apostolic Church obviously believed Christ was God. Then came theories that Jesus was a mere man but that the Godhead descended upon Him and adopted Him, or that He was God because He was begotten by the Father of the same kind of substance as Himself, but not of the very same substance, and that there was a time when the Son of God did not exist (amongst other theories), etc. This led to the clarification that, based on what reason itself can teach us about the necessary nature of the Divine Essence, Christ could not be homoiousios, but had to be Homoousios (oi vs. oo) to the Father, and hence, co-Eternal, etc. That in turn led to questions about just how the Incarnation, the union of the Divine and human, took place in Christ. The deliberations were careful not to overthrow anything the early Fathers believed, and to pay attention to the fundamental principles they held. This led to clarifications about the Theandric operations, Perichoresis, the Communication of Idioms, etc., etc.
          The main thing to realize, is that already in Scripture we see that the New Testament is not about a record of scriptural data frozen in time (that is the Old Covenant), but about a Church, which is united to Christ directly in Baptism (“I am the Vine, you the branches”), and sustained by the Eucharist, in which the fruit of the vine and the kernel of wheat (“I am the True Bread that came down from Heaven”) are transformed into the Lord’s own Body and Blood, making the members of the Church, who are baptized into Christ’s Body and Blood, and fed on His Body and Blood, to be the Lord’s Flesh and Blood, too. The Church is therefore as incorruptible and True as is the Lord Himself. This community is governed by the Lord’s own authority, transmitted to the Apostles with Peter as their chief (we see this already in Scripture) and through them to their successors, with the pope as their chief.
          As Christ said, this Body, His Body, is divinely guaranteed from defecting from the Truth as an whole, and will always be led into the Truth, and has the authority to teach, judge and to rule in His name. Hence “the Church is the Pillar and Bulwark of the Truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), rather than “the Bible.” The only thing to remember, is that from antiquity, the Church has always taught that anyone who does not adhere to what has clearly been taught beforehand, must be regarded as having automatically put himself outside the Church. So, if St. John Cassian debates with St. Augustine in good faith about some points which, later, the Church was able to confidently reject, we can still honor St. John Cassian as a Saint even though some of his opinions were wrong.
          But, once those truths are formally defined, any Catholic who deliberately contradicts them, or even simply gives public evidence of his basic indifference to Church teaching, is automatically out. This helps us to understand what is happening in our day, where the institutions of Catholicism all seem to have defected from the Faith. This happened under men who were public heretics, so we know that none of their doctrinal novelties or immoral and uncanonical acts were done with the Church’s authority, and in fact, we know that they are not even members of the Church; in another age, this problem would have been resolved more quickly – but we live in an age of suicidal “moderation,” where respectable blandness and niceness is the only acceptable social posture, and anyone who takes the Truth seriously is viewed as a dangerous nutter. So, while it is definitely true that Francis and the bishops like him are not even members of the Catholic Church, many, including actual members of the Church, continue to operate under the respectable and moderate assumption that they are. Thus, they watch impotently as they destroy everything they hold dear. But those who hold the faith deliberately and submit to the teaching of the Church on the nature of public heresy and the necessary, ipso facto excommunication that it incurs by divine law, continue to be Catholics with their Faith unshaken, albeit watching in sorrow as the greatest crisis in Church history unfolds. The point, is that despite the seeming problem in the Church, the clear principles of Catholic law and theology can explain the situation without having to do any backflips. Nothing essential has been overturned.
          I hope that helped to illuminate the nature of Tradition, how things that were once debatable gradually become defined and thus no longer subject to debate, and how the authoritative teaching of the Church is always solidly built on what was already implicit and necessary in the principles of the Traditional Consensus beforehand. And, sorry if it was too long.

        6. Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” One of the great Classics of Catholic spirituality, is the “Imitation of Christ.” The Fathers of the Church all taught that Christ is the paradigm of the New Man, the Model upon Whom all Christians are founded, and Whom they imitate in their own capacity. Some Eastern Orthodox, in their zeal to appear different from the Latins, floated the idea that “the Imitation of Christ” is not the Orthodox model of spirituality. Well, it is the Patristic and Traditional doctrine, and so it also is of the Catholic Church. Absolutely you should imitate Christ. Indeed, St. Maximos teaches that the whole reason why Christians pursue the ascetic life, and fast regularly, and discipline themselves sexually, and accept sufferings and humiliations, is precisely because they have been given a new beginning in Christ, and it was Christ’s voluntary suffering that turned the Cross and Death against themselves, making them into the portal to glory and new life. Those who are not in Christ suffer justly; those in Christ, imitate Christ in suffering innocently, and so turning suffering into their glorification and their proof of fellowship with Christ. St. Paul teaches the same (“I yearn to be joined to Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings… that I too may somehow be joined to Him in His rising from the dead”).
          So, imitate Christ! It is the Scriptural, Patristic, Traditional and Catholic model! And because every Saint of the Church is a Saint because of the perfection of their imitation of Christ, to imitate the Saints – Paul, for example – is to imitate Christ.
          Thanks for your kind wishes. And don’t worry, nothing you’ve said offends me! Keep me in your prayers; I need them.

        7. Thank you sir for you reply. It seems I have much thinking and reading to do.
          in eo, in aeternum.
          Gratias tibi ago.

  13. Aurelius, know that your writing is greatly appreciated, and I will be perusing it over the months and years to come, as it inspires thoughtfulness and reflection. Your writing has also encouraged me, and surely many others, to take another look at religion, something that has not been a part of my life for several years. I am currently exploring a traditional, conservative orthodox faith, and wish to thank you for your contributions, and wish you well on your new endeavor!

  14. I like these kind of articles. In today society virtues like honor, loyalty etc. are worth nothing. People have no shame either. I also find myself ending “the search of god” that I struggled with my whole life raised as a catholic. I do not know many answers like other people no matter that some of them claim they know. They know shit. Now I dive into science completely, math, raw facts, neuroscience etc. People before us two thousand years ago thought the earth is flat and thanks to science we know the truth. We went to the space thanks to it. We still do not know but we will find it out. When I look realistically on human corpses I see them dead. There is no life in them. When your brain (You) dies, You die with it. There is no other materialistic evidence for your existence other than wishful thinking. This is what we know so far.

  15. Aurelius Moner – I take exception to your arguments in this essay. I will break down the problems I see by way of quoting 3 sections of your essay (A,B and C) with some critical analysis for each such section, in the hope that you may advise where you think I may be mistaken.
    A) “The Cardinal was only willing to admit two things, a priori: 1) we subjectively experience spontaneous assent to various perceptions; 2) we are able to reflect on these.”
    The subtle error here is that the Cardinal’s condition (1) and condition (2), are not separable elements, – instead – condition (2) is necessarily inextricably embedded in condition (1) and as such – any logically operations that are conducted by way of separating these conditions will be inherently flawed.
    The ontology I am instead hereby emphasizing, that gives rise the subjective/objective dichotomy that we all are faced with as humans, can be ordered as follows:
    i) we can infer from the phenomenological element – “with certainty, I know, at least, that something is going on” (which is a more accurate a priori admittance), that this phenomenon has embedded within it’s essence – the subjective state, – the “I am”
    that can be known directly,
    ii) and that by way of close inspection of the limited quality of the subjective “something is going on” phenomenon, particularly our gross “I am” limitations with respect to omniscience, one can also infer an objective reality apart from the subjective experience
    iii) the tension that stems from all the implications of the interface of (i) and (ii), is what I mean by the subjective/objective dichotomy
    B) “Many, taking Descartes’ statement slightly amiss, think that that first thing the intellect perceives is its own cognition (“I think, therefore I am”). Now, it may be true that the first thing the mind spontaneously reflects upon, is its own cognition; but in fact the mind must perceive being itself before it perceives cognition, for cognition involves the existence of the subject and object of the cognition. Thus, “I am, therefore I think.” We may not reflect upon this fact, however, until we have reflected upon our cognition, and this is why Descartes deduced his existence from his thought.”
    Instead of saying: “Now, it may be true that the first thing the mind spontaneously reflects upon, is its own cognition”, it instead would be more accurate to say: “mind = cognition” (where = means “identity” and not “results in”).
    And furthermore, instead of saying: “but in fact the mind must perceive being itself before it perceives cognition, for cognition involves the existence of the subject and object of the cognition” it instead would be more accurate to say: “but in fact the mind, as per the operation of perception, can be defined at it’s root as being = cognition” (where = means “identity” and not “results in”).
    As such, both the statement “I think, therefore I am” and the statement “I am, therefore I think” are illogical, by way of upholding the necessity of the logical operation (of cause/effect) implied by the word “therefore”, which does not follow from the more accurate a priori ordering I have outlined above. Instead, more accurately: “I am = I think” (where = means “identity” and not “results in”), or “I am”
    is “I think”.
    What I am implying here is that cognition, or awareness, or consciousness, or perception or mindfulness (or whatever you want to call the first premise, ….. the a priori stated as – “with certainty, I know, at least, that something is going on”) is, this first premise in of itself, is a condition whereby the subjective is inextricably insinuated. Now for those that would wonder about quibbling over this point, due to the fact that our powers of discernment and introspection uncovers a varying quality of the subjective, depending upon varying degrees of alertness or wakefulness – yes it seems that way at first blush – that since there seems to exist gradients with respect to qualities of the subjective, that it therefore follows that the subjective itself must therefore be a separate element with respect to cognition or awareness proper (or whatever other word you want to use to describe this first premise), but upon more careful discernment and introspection, it is not that difficult to see that it only seems that way, because we so naturally default to the conditions (ii) and (iii) that I have outlined above – as the subjective state seems to increase with respect to the quality of alertness. As such, it is by way of consideration of the limitations of condition (i) that actually give rise to conditions (ii) and (iii) for which the attending qualities of alertness of wakefulness thereby arise.
    C) “Essentially, this is at the bottom of it: in finding ourselves able still to will to doubt, in literal spite of ourselves and of everything, we have simply discovered that we are contingent beings suffering from a defect of will, who require the approbation and confirmation of the Necessary Being before we can escape the possibility of the
    brute, stubborn, irrational will to doubt.”
    Well …… doubt is inherent in the operation of the discernment that gives rise to condition (i) => condition (ii) => condition (iii). And furthermore the “Necessary Being” or “God” is meant by theologians of all stripes, religions and denominations as “a concept truly beyond the powers of human conception”, or more precisely , with respect to defining human knowledge it terms of the known, unknown and unknowable – “God” (as in infinite omnipotence and omniscience) necessarily falls
    within the realm of the unknowable (and it fact – one of the most mysterious qualities of the human condition is that we can in fact can even conceive of the demarcation of the unknown/unknowable). Given these epistemological elements, I don’t see how your application of such Universal, as bearing upon human affairs, solves anything. Look – I’m not insinuating that it is not valid to look for divinity everywhere within the conditions we are met with …… but what I am implying is that more humility is called for with respect to your ordering of the metaphysics.

    1. I confess to finding your argument hard to follow. If you think you can streamline it for me, I’m happy to give it another look.
      For starters, I’m not sure why you seem to be conflating things that are properly distinct. For example mind does not equal cognition; cognition is the operation of the mind; cognition does not equal being, though it enjoys being. And certainly, in speaking of the knowledge of God and of Being, I am not implying an intellectual comprehension of the incomprehensible, but the mere perception of its existence. Even in the Beatific Vision, where God is seen by the elect, they see without comprehending.
      Just in general, I found it hard to follow you, sometimes.

      1. Aurelius Moner – if you accept my condition (i), as the a priori, ….. i.e. – that the subjective is necessarily embedded in the a priori phenomenon …… then conflation of the “mind” with “cognition”, and conflation of “being” with “cognition” ….. is the logical implication.
        Yes …. you could say cognition is the operation of the mind, however, if you separate the elements of “cognition”, from “mind”
        (as you so wish to do), by way of linking the elements by process
        (ie. – by “operation”) then must you not wonder whether these two
        elements are apparent, albeit always together, only within process?,
        or ……. alternatively whether these two elements stand apart, as truly separate elements, despite the process brought to bear? How to make this determination?
        If you accept as a priori my condition (i), then: “cognition is the operation of the mind” = “the subjective state”, or: “the subjective state” = “cognition is the operation of the mind” (where = means “identity” and not “results in”). Note that the subjective state is process. As such ….. limiting the discussion for now, to the a priori of my condition (i) (assuming you accept this), it is clear that with regards to this first premise, “cognition” and “mind” are apparent, albeit together, only within process. Furthermore, I would contend that the differentiation of “cognition” and “mind”, as self-same aspects of the subjective process, only becomes clear by way of the
        application of my conditions (ii) and (iii), and that upon introspection around this …….. this self-same differentiation is actually a product of the singular => manifold perspective enlargement inherent in the operation of my condition (ii) and condition (iii).
        So Aurelius Moner – to further our discussion here …… I must
        ask …… do you accept my condition (i) as a priori – or if not –
        why not? In this vein – ask yourself – what does a new-born baby
        conceive of?

  16. In the eye of a mantis shrimp, pompous, “knowing” humans are but a bunch of bugs. Big, self-important bugs.
    🙂

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