The first topic to think about ….

Most of what follows is quoted from “St Thomas Aqinas” by G K Chesterton” and “The One Minute Aquinas” by Kevin Vost Psy D. To get a perspective of what “knowledge” is visit my page – https://patrickwagnerblog.wordpress.com/knowledge/

“Long before we know that grass is grass, or self is self, we know that something is something.  Perhaps it would be best to say very emphatically (with a blow on the table), “There is an Is.”  That is as much monkish credulity as St. Thomas asks of us at the start. Very few unbelievers start by asking us to believe so little. And yet, upon this sharp pin-point of reality, he rears by long logical processes that have never really been successfully overthrown, the whole cosmic system of Christendom. Thus, Aquinas insists very profoundly but very practically, that there instantly enters, with this idea of affirmation the idea of contradiction.  It is instantly apparent, even to the child, that there cannot be both affirmation and contradiction. … Henceforth, in common or popular language, there is a false and true.

Aquinas is nowhere more subtle than in pointing out that being is not strictly the same as truth; seeing truth must mean the appreciation of being by some mind capable of appreciating it.  But in a general sense there has entered that primeval world of pure actuality, the division and dilemma that brings the ultimate sort of war into the world; the everlasting duel between Yes and No. This is the dilemma that many sceptics have darkened the universe and dissolved the mind solely in order to escape. They are those who maintain that there is something that is both Yes and No. I do not know whether they pronounce it Yo.

The next step following on this acceptance of actuality or certainty, or whatever we call it in popular language, is much more difficult to explain in that language.  But it represents exactly the point at which nearly all other systems go wrong, and in taking the third step abandon the first.  Aquinas has affirmed that our first sense of fact is a fact; and he cannot go back on it without falsehood. …

But when we come to look at the fact or facts, as we know them, we observe that they have a rather queer character; which has made many moderns grow strangely and restlessly sceptical about them. For instance, they are largely in a state of change, from being one thing to being another; or their qualities are relative to other things; or they appear to move incessantly; or they appear to vanish entirely. At this point, as I say, many sages lose hold of the first principle of reality, which they would concede at first; and fall back on saying that there is nothing except change; or nothing except comparison; or nothing except flux; or in effect that there is nothing at all. Aquinas turns the whole argument the other way, keeping in line with his first realisation of reality.  There is no doubt about the being of being, even if it does sometimes look like becoming; that is because what we see is not the fullness of being; or (to continue a sort of colloquial slang) we never see being being as much as it can.  Ice is melted into cold water and cold water is heated into hot water; it cannot be all three at once. But this does not make water unreal or even relative; it only means that its being is limited to being one thing at a time. But the fullness of being is everything that it can be; and without it the lesser or approximate forms of being cannot be explained as anything; unless they are explained away as nothing. … The recognition of something, of a thing or things, is the first act of the intellect. But because the examination of a thing shows it is not a fixed or final thing, they inferred that there is nothing fixed or final. Thus, in various ways, they all began to see a thing as something thinner than a thing; a wave; a weakness; an abstract instability. … Since we know them to be real, any elusive or bewildering element in their reality cannot really be unreality; and must be merely their relation to the real reality.” [G K Chesterton]

“St. Thomas Aquinas closely resembles the great Professor Huxley, the Agnostic who invented the word Agnosticism.  He is like him in his way of starting the argument, and he is unlike everybody else, before and after, until the Huxleyan age.  He adopts almost literally the Huxleyan definition of the Agnostic method; “To follow reason as far as it will go;” the only question is–where does it go? He lays down the almost startlingly modern or materialist statement; “Every thing that is in the intellect has been in the senses.” [G K Chesterton]

“Since happiness is gained by means of certain actions, we must consider, in due sequence, by what actions we may obtain happiness.” [Thomas Aquinas]

The consideration of the difference between “happiness” and “joy“.

  1. What are they?
  2. What does each consists of?
  3. How can we obtain them?

We have the power to reason, to determine what is good and what is evil, we have free will, to choose what goods we seek and choose the way or method we will go about obtaining them. We are masters of our own actions.

The goods we seek, or the things we hope to achieve by our actions, are our “goals”, or “ends”.

Although the “ends” are last in the order of actions to execute they must be the first item considered in the order of execution as well. If we intend to achieve them the “ends” or “objectives” must be sufficient “cause” or “motivation” for our action in intending to achieve them. Contrary to the tenets of modern behavioural psychology St Thomas recognized that we are not pushed by random actions or events in our past, but, masters of our fate who are pulled or drawn by future goals. Drawn by a “VISION“. If the goal or ends is not a vision that you have or that has you you will not “INTEND” to act in order to achieve or reach it.

How you get to your “ends or objectives”, the way you walk on the way to them, not only determines if you will arrive and where you will arrive, but, more importantly – who you will arrive there as.

Our problem is NOT – are my desires satisfied or not?

Our problem IS – how do I know what to desire? [Slavoj Zizek]

““Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” … Values, however, do not drive a man; they do not push him, but rather pull him… Now, if I say man is pulled by values, what is implicitly referred to is the fact that there is always freedom involved; the freedom of man to make his choice between accepting or rejecting an offer, i.e. to fulfill a meaning potentially, or else to  forfeit it… Man is never driven to moral behaviour; in each instance he decides to behave morally.” [Viktor E Frankl]

“Unsatisfied desire is in itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” [C S Lewis]

When Alice came to a fork in the road, she looked up and asked the Cheshire cat in the tree, “Which road should I take?”

To which the cat answered, “That depends, where are you going?”

“I don’t know” replied Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter” observed the Cheshire cat. – [Lewis Carroll]

“Ships sail east, and ships sail west, while the same sea breezes blow.

It’s the set of the sail, and not the gale, that determines the way they go”

Why do individuals act so very differently and achieve such differing degrees of happiness when the objective or “end” desired is “happiness or joy”? St Thomas says, “to desire happiness is nothing else than to desire one’s will be satisfied”. And yet, “all do not know happiness; because they know not in what the general notion of happiness is found.” We all want to be happy but not all of us know what will really make us happy.

Reason is not the same as Rationalty. Rationality is being consistent within ones beliefs, even if the beliefs are unreasonable. Reasoning is a learned skill that improves with practice.

REASON – noun:  the capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination (eg.”We are told that man is endowed with reason and because he has reason he is capable of distinguishing “GOOD” from “EVIL”)

RATIONALIZE – verb:  structure and run according to rational or scientific principles in order to achieve desired results (eg. “We rationalized the factory’s production and raised profits”)
▸ verb:  remove irrational quantities from (“This function can be rationalized”)
▸ verb:  think rationally; employ logic and reason

To RATIONALIZE involves thinking about “good” and “bad”, relatively,

To REASON involves thinking about “GOOD” and “EVIL” which are the origin or source for “good” and “bad”.

To RATIONALIZE without REASON is to discern, distinguish or determine the intellectual and physical difference between good and bad without their source.

To REASON without RATIONALIZING is to discern, distinguish or determine the spiritual, intellectual and physical origins, whether “GOOD” or “EVIL”.

To do either separately introduces either deception or ignorance.

God says in Isaiah 1:18 Comenow, and let us REASON togetherfor a reason.

Thomas says that, informed by both natural reason and Christian revelation we strive for a twofold happiness:

  1. An imperfect happiness here in the world and …
  2. A perfect happiness (joy) found only in God.

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” [Augustine] The “in You” refers to – in God or in Christ”, the ultimate source of every good thing.

St. Thomas’s end, in writing the Summa Theologica is to help us obtain that final, perfect, ultimate, eternal “joy” or bliss in and with God.

John 13:17 tells us, “If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them” – there are things we need to know and things we need to do.

Much must have happened in the realm of philosophical thought during the last three or four hundred years that requires an open-minded person to abandon their teachings for something more recent and, therefore, supposedly better. My response to that view is negative. I have found faults in the writings of Aristotle and Aquinas, but it has not been my reading of modern philosophical works that has called my attention to these faults, or helped me to correct them. On the contrary, it has been my understanding of the underlying principles and the formative insights that govern the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas that has provided the basis for amending or amplifying their views where they are fallacious or defective.” [Mortimer J Adler]

The arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric

GRAMMAR – the systematic method of gathering facts and data into a body of knowledge, it includes the mechanics of language, properly identifying, verifying and describing information perceived by the five senses.LOGIC – or dialectic is the mechanics of thought and analysis, the process of identifying fallacies, contradictions and errors in reasoning. RHETORIC – the application of language in order to persuade.

The Trivium: The three arts of language pertaining to the mind
Logic – art of thinking
Grammar – art of inventing and combining symbols
Rhetoric – art of communication

When added to the :- The Quadrivium: The four arts of quantity pertaining to matter
Discrete quantity or number

1.ARITHMETIC – the study of quantity involving the combination of numbers through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. (pure construct, abstraction)

2.GEOMETRY – a branch of mathematics concerned with shape, size, relative position, and the properties of space. (Arithmetic of space)

3.MUSIC – an art form which employs vibration, rhythm, dynamics, and the interplay between sound and silence as its mediums of expression. (Arithmetic of time)

4.ASTRONOMY – a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae and galaxies. (Arithmetic of time and space)


… and they all look like this …

The main sources for the above diagrams and information are “Aristotle for Everybody” by Mortimer J Adler, Robert Maxwell’s talk on the history of PHILOSOPHY, and “The Trivium” by Sister Miriam Joseph.

“If we confine ourselves to the use of knowledge or understanding for the sake of “PRODUCING” things … philosophy is useless, it builds no bridges not bakes no cakes. But there is a “PRACTICAL” rather than a “PRODUCTIVE” use of knowledge and understanding – a use for the “DOING” rather than “PRODUCING” or making. In that dimension of life, philosophy is more useful than science.” [M J Adler]

PRODUCTIVE THINKING” is thinking about “THING” to be made

PRACTICAL THINKING” is thinking about “WHAT” is to be done.

INTELLECTUAL VIRTUES” – good habits, skills, excellence, virtues of the mind

MORAL VIRTUES” – personal character, a settled disposition to choose or decide correctly (temperance, courage)

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” [Aristotle]

“This brings us to the other difficulty; that of logical method. I have never understood why there is supposed to be something crabbed or antique about a syllogism; still less can I understand what any-body means by talking as if induction had somehow taken the place of deduction.  The whole point of deduction is that true premises produce a true conclusion.  What is called induction seems simply to mean collecting a larger number of true premises, or perhaps, in some physical matters, taking rather more trouble to see that they are true.  It may be a fact that a modern man can get more out of a great many premises, concerning microbes or asteroids than a medieval man could get out of a very few premises about salamanders and unicorns.  But the process of deduction from the data is the same for the modern mind as for the medieval mind; and what is pompously called induction is simply collecting more of the data.

And Aristotle or Aquinas, or anybody in his five wits, would of course agree that the conclusion could only be true if the premises were true; and that the more true premises there were the better.” [G K Chesterton – St Thomas Aquinas]

In his book Rhetoric, which is said to be “the most important single work on persuasion ever written”, the Greek philosopher Aristotle divides the art of persuasion into two distinct forms, dialectic and rhetoric …“Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.” Rhetoric is much more forgiving of falsehood, and in fact, it’s not even strictly possible to say that a rhetorical statement is a lie. Rhetoric consists of the construction of what Aristotle describes as enthymemes— which are not proper logical syllogisms, but incomplete or invalid arguments that merely take the form of syllogisms— in which all that matters is that persuasion is achieved by means of the “proof” provided, or more accurately, the apparent proof. For the purposes of following this vital philosophical distinction, it might be easier to think in terms of “logically sound” and “not logically sound” rather than in simple terms of true and false. The point is that you can construct a logical syllogism that proves or a pseudo-logical enthymeme that apparently proves, but in either case, they can both be used to correctly point the person with whom you are speaking towards the relevant truth of the matter.” [Vox Day]

Propositions arrived at purely by logical means are completely empty as regards reality” [Albert Eienstein]

It was the misfortune of medieval culture that there were not enough true premises, owing to the rather ruder conditions of travel or experiment.  But however perfect were the conditions of travel or experiment, they could only produce premises; it would still be necessary to deduce conclusionsBut many modern people talk as if what they call induction were some magic way of reaching a conclusion, without using any of those horrid old syllogisms. But induction does not lead us to a conclusion.  Induction only leads us to a deduction.  Unless the last three syllogistic steps are all right, the conclusion is all wrong.

The truth about this false antithesis of induction and deduction is simply this; that as premises or data accumulated, the emphasis and detail was shifted to them, from the final deduction to which they lead. But they did lead to a final deduction; or else they led to nothing. The logician had so much to say about electrons or microbes that he dwelt most on these data and shortened or assumed his ultimate syllogism. But if he reasoned rightly, however rapidly, he reasoned syllogistically. …

But all this has nothing to do with the question asked at the beginning of this chapter and needing to be answered at the end of it; the question of what he [St Thomas] is arguing for. In that respect it can be repeated, most emphatically, that he is arguing for common sense.  He is arguing for a common sense which would even now commend itself to most of the common people. He is arguing for the popular proverbs that seeing is believing; that the proof of the pudding is in the eating; that a man cannot jump down his own throat or deny the fact of his own existence. He often maintains the view by the use of abstractions; but the abstractions are no more abstract than Energy or Evolution or Space-Time; and they do not land us, as the others often do, in hopeless contradictions about common life.  The Pragmatist sets out to be practical, but his practicality turns out to be entirely theoretical.  The Thomist begins by being theoretical, but his theory turns out to be entirely practical.  That is why a great part of the world is returning to it today. …

Finally, there is some real difficulty in the fact of a foreign language; apart from the ordinary fact of the Latin language. Modern philosophical terminology is not always exactly identical with plain English; and medieval philosophical terminology is not at all identical even with modern philosophical terminology. It is not really very difficult to learn the meaning of the main terms; but their medieval meaning is sometimes the exact opposite of their modern meaning. …

For “formal” in Thomist language means actual, or possessing the real decisive quality that makes a thing itself. Roughly when he describes a thing as made out of Form and Matter, he very rightly recognises that Matter is the more mysterious and indefinite and featureless element; and that what stamps anything with its own identity is its Form.  Matter, so to speak, is not so much the solid as the liquid or gaseous thing in the cosmos: and in this most modern scientists are beginning to agree with him. But the form is the fact; it is that which makes a brick a brick, and a bust a bust, and not the shapeless and trampled clay of which either may be made.  The stone that broke a statuette, in some Gothic niche, might have been itself a statuette; and under chemical analysis, the statuette is only a stone.  But such a chemical analysis is entirely false as a philosophical analysis. The reality, the thing that makes the two things real, is in the idea of the image and in the idea of the image-breaker. This is only a passing example of the mere idiom of the Thomist terminology; but it is not a bad prefatory specimen of the truth of Thomist thought. Every artist knows that the form is not superficial but fundamental; that the form is the foundation.  Every sculptor knows that the form of the statue is not the outside of the statue, but rather the inside of the statue; even in the sense of the inside of the sculptor.

Every poet knows that the sonnet-form is not only the form of the poem; but the poem.  No modern critic who does not understand what the medieval Schoolman meant by form can meet the Schoolman as an intellectual equal.” [G K Chesterton – St Thomas Aquinas]

“St. Thomas Aquinas closely resembles the great Professor Huxley, the Agnostic who invented the word Agnosticism.  He is like him in his way of starting the argument, and he is unlike everybody else, before and after, until the Huxleyan age.  He adopts almost literally the Huxleyan definition of the Agnostic method; “To follow reason as far as it will go;” the only question is–where does it go? He lays down the almost startlingly modern or materialist statement; “Every thing that is in the intellect has been in the senses.” This is where he began, as much as any modern man of science, nay, as much as any modern materialist who can now hardly be called a man of science; at the very opposite end of enquiry from that of the mere mystic. The Platonists, or at least the Neo-Platonists, all tended to the view that the mind was lit entirely from within; St. Thomas insisted that it was lit by five windows, that we call the windows of the senses.

But he wanted the light from without to shine on what was within. He wanted to study the nature of Man, and not merely of such moss and mushrooms as he might see through the window, and which he valued as the first enlightening experience of man. And starting from this point, he proceeds to climb the House of Man, step by step and story by story, until he has come out on the highest tower and beheld the largest vision.

In other words, he is an anthropologist, with a complete theory of Man, right or wrong.” [G K Chesterton – St Thomas Aquinas] 

The 3 categories of philosophy – “METAPHYSICS – EPISTIMOLOGY – AXIOLOGY”

“DIALECTIC” in the modern Marxist sense is Hegelian in origin, it must be completely set aside when we speak of Medieval or ancient dialectic. Dialectic is concerned with “proving”. In the Middle Ages there are three kinds of proof;

from REASON – establishes geometrical truth

from AUTHORITY – establishes a historical truth

from EXPERIENCE – establishes that oysters do, or do not, agree with us.” [C S Lewis]

METAPHYSICS – reality “I am therefore I think”

EPISTIMOLOGY – knowledge “I think therefore I am”

AXIOLOGY – value

… under 3 periods “PRE-MODERNISM – MODERNISM – POST-MODERNISM”

The innovation of rhetoric, as used by the Ancient Greek Sophists (and which similar traces may be found also in Ancient Indian and Ancient Chinese traditions (see Difficulties in the way of Persuasion by Han fei Tzu 300 BC) ) succeeded in not only shifting the focus of competence in thinking onto the competence of verbalizing thoughts, but also in smothering most culture’s dialectic of arriving at truth.

Many of us have played two games without realizing we were on the way to becoming philosophical. One is called “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral“; the other, “Twenty Questions.” May I suggest an alternatve to those initial three categories “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” and make them rather “physical, mental, spiritual

“Socrates – “Do we believe that there is such a thing as death ? …”

“It is simply the release of the soul from the body, this separate condition of the body by itself when it is released from the soul”. …

“When is it that the soul attains to truth? When it tries to investigate anything with the help of the body it is led astray, the soul can reason best when it is free of all distractions such as hearing or seeing or feeling pleasure or pain of any kind, that is when it leaves the body to its own de-vices, becomes isolated as possible, and strives for reality, while avoiding as much physical as it can” …

The study of philosophy is nothing other than the study of dying. The philosopher more than any other man seeks to separate the soul from communion with the body. It is only when the soul leaves the body, and avoids all possible association and contact with the body, when it strives to be alone by itself, that it can reach out to reality, for so long as it is with the body, it is constantly deceived by the body. The companionship of the body disturbs the soul and hinders it from attaining truth and wisdom. If we are ever to know anything we must be freed from the body. No man can be a lover of wisdom and a lover of the body. Since all this is so, clearly a man must die to live.” [Plato – The Phaedo]

At the end of T.S Eliot’s The Four Quartets he expresses perfectly the wisdom that may not understand the paradox  for paradoxes are not meant to be understood but to be lived. Eliot speaks of:

“A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)”

“I can honestly say that there are many forms of atheism that I find far more admirable than many forms of Christianity or of religion in general. But atheism that consists entirely in vacuous arguments afloat on oceans of historical ignorance, made turbulent by storms of strident self-righteousness, is as contemptible as any other form of dreary fundamentalism.” [David Bentley Hart]

“The language which can with the greatest ease make the finest and most numerous distinctions of meaning is the best” [C S Lewis]

What is “freedom” as a human experience? Is the desire for “freedom” something inherent in human nature? Is it an identical experience regardless of what culture a person lives in, or is it something different according to the degree of individualism reached in a particular person or society?

“There are issues which it is not only impossible to discuss intelligently, but which it is also not intelligent to discuss.” [Dostoevsky]

OPINION VERSUS KNOWLEDGE
“Now in terms of this definition of truth, let me talk about knowledge and
opinion. Knowledge consists in having the truth and knowing that you have it,
because you know why what you think is true is true. Whereas opinion consists
in not being sure that you have the truth, not being sure whether what you say is
true or false. And even if what you say happens to be true, you aren’t sure
because you don’t know why it is true.” [Mortimer Adler]

Substance is enduring, form is ephemeral. Failure to distinguish clearly between the two is ruinous. Success follows those adept at preserving the substance of the past by clothing it in the forms of the future. Preserve substance; modify form; know the difference. The closest thing to a law of nature in business is that form has an affinity for expense, while substance has an affinity for income.

“Reality is that which when we stop believing in it doesn’t go away.” [Philip K. Dick]

“The primary fact about Christianity and Paganism is that one came after the other.The great psychological discovery of Paganism, which turned it into Christianity, can be expressed with some accuracy in one phrase. The pagan set out, with admirable sense, to enjoy himself. By the end of his civilization he had discovered that a man cannot enjoy himself and continue to enjoy anything else.
I do not know by what extraordinary mental accident modern writers so constantly connect the idea of progress with the idea of independent thinking. Progress is obviously the antithesis of independent thinking. For under independent or individualistic thinking, every man starts at the beginning, and goes, in all probability, just as far as his father before him. But if there really be anything of the nature of progress, it must mean, above all things, the careful study and assumption of the whole of the past. I accuse [the modern atheist] and his school of reaction in the only real sense.
If he likes, let him ignore these great historic mysteries– the mystery of charity, the mystery of chivalry, the mystery of faith. If he likes, let him ignore the plough or the printing-press. But if we do revive and pursue the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end–where Paganism ended. I do not mean that we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity. [G K Chesterton]

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.” [Lewis Carroll]

“There is a state of consciousness that transcends conceptual thinking, in fact where conceptual thinking stops, but you are still conscious of who you are. You must learn to use your mind rather than letting your mind use you. Where your unconditioned conscious takes over from your conditioned conscious, there lies the real “you.” [Echart Tolle]

Your “spirit – “Its inside is bigger than its outside.” [C S Lewis]

“Man is formed to apprehend Truth: he ardently desires it; he pursues it; but when he attempts to grasp it, he feels bewildered and confounded, so much so that he cannot tell whether he has it or not” [ Blaise Pascal]

“Ideas exist to serve and illuminate people, not the other way around.” [Socrates by Paul Johnson p191-192]

FUNCTION” precedes “ESSENCE” [DANTE] – The Potter determines what purpose He is creating the vessel for before placing the clay on the potters wheel.

“The most important occupation of a human being was to subdue his bodily instincts and train himself to the  teachings of the soul.” [Paul Johnson p110]

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“Our problem is not – are our desires satisfied or not? Our problem ishow do we know what to desire?” [Slavoj Zizek] – which sums up James 4:1-3  “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

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“If you asked the people in hell if they are happy, almost all of them would say “yes”. Hell is a description for people who have become comfortable with nothingness, with non-life, even a dead existence, and being content with it. It is all they can ever know or ever expected. Hell is later only because it was allowed and chosen now.  … The gate of hell is always a door swinging both ways. No one is in there unless they want to be, and anyone who wants to can always decide differently” [Richard Rohr]

“You see, one of the things you learn about the law is you can never keep the law by aiming to keep the law. You have to aim at something else if you’re going to keep the law. You have to aim at becoming the kind of person for whom the deeds of the law are the natural, obvious, sensible thing to do. And that’s what Jesus is talking about, He’s talking about the transformation of the heart.” [Dallas Willard]

“Biblical Christianity knows nothing of blind leaps. Blindness, in Biblical categories, marks the unbelieving mind.” [R C Sproul]

“The Christian is called, not to individualism but to membership in the mystical Body. A consideration of the differences between the secular collective and the mystical Body is therefore the first step to understanding how Christianity without being individualistic can yet counteract collectivism.”[C S Lewis]

“Seek grace and instruction

Seek desire not understanding

Seek the groaning of prayer over diligent reading

Seek the Spouse more than the Teacher

Seek God’s darkness rather than man’s clarity

Seek the Fire itself not the Light” [Bonaventure]

Just as “PART” cannot be greater than the “WHOLE”, so, when you do what needs to be done to get to the “ENDS” you may ask yourself why you wanted the “ENDS”, but you can never ask yourself why you wanted the “MEANS to the ENDS”.

Form and Substance:

Substance is enduring, form is ephemeral. Failure to distinguish clearly between the two is ruinous. Success follows those adept at preserving the substance of the past by clothing it in the forms of the future. Preserve substance; modify form; know the difference. The closest thing to a law of nature in business is that form has an affinity for expense, while substance has an affinity for income.

Conclusion, Fact and Attitude:

Conclusions are, or should be based on facts, and the knowledge of facts, not attitudes.

Attitude is a mental or emotional view or perception of a fact or facts. Attitudes can be negative or positive.

Fact is the reality, physical and mental reality, of what exists. Facts support or deny negative or positive attitudes as well as conclusions.

Vision – Intention – Means

There is a vast difference between having to present a vision and having a vision to present.

Rational belief and rational unbelief is critical to life. Our worldview is constructed from our belief system.

All beliefs can not be true. An example is the man who is about to cross the busy road. He has three possible beliefs:-

  1. He may believe that the oncoming bus will not kill him when he chooses to step on to the road,  (He believes the driver will see him and stop or that he can avoid the bus somehow)
  2. He may have doubts about whether the oncoming bus will stop or not and choose to stay where he is and not step off the sidewalk onto the road.
  3. He may choose to step onto the road to be knocked over by the bus on purpose.

When he acts, and actually steps onto the road or remains on the sidewalk is the ultimate test of the reality of his beliefs. The truth is that all three beliefs can not be accommodated simultaneously by reality. Making no choice is a choice, it is choice number two, to remain on the sidewalk. Choosing one or three, he will either be hit by the bus or he will not, his choice determines which. The number of people who believe, or disbelieve, any of the three possibilities with the man making the choice, will have no effect on the reality of what happens.

 Remembering that – “happiness,cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” [Viktor E Frankl] …

I would put “happiness” at the end of a sequential Galations 5:22 list, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, ” – and then happiness (you understand your justification).
I could also say that there is a deeper result of journeying through the 2Peter 1:5-6 list -” For this very reason, you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character, your moral character with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control, your self-control with endurance, your endurance with godliness,” – result happiness (you understand your sanctification). Which would support your feeling that “with the Spirit” happiness can be pursued.
A qualifier though, I am not saying you couldn’t be happy on the journey from love through to faith or during the journey from faith to godliness.

Aristotle’s 3 dimensions of persons:

  1. MAKING” – artisan, arist, producer, anything artificial or not natural
  2. DOING” – moral and social being, doing right or wrong
  3. KNOWING” – learning, aquiring knowledge

Aristotle associates “good” vs “evil” with “2.DOING” and with “3. KNOWING” – if you DO you will KNOW the TRUTH.

“entelechy” – the potential or “potentiality” that the “substance” or “form” is destined to reach (an acorn will become an oak tree) “MATTER” and “TRANSFORMATION”

DIALECTIC” is only possible when TRUTH is determined relativistically. A “dialectic” is a tension between incompatible contradictory ideas. The “dialectic method” attempts to see the truth in both polarities at the same time.

THESIS – SYNTHESIS – ANTITHESIS – makes the law of non-contradiction irrelevant.” [R C Sproul]

In logic, the law of non-contradiction (LNC) (also known as the law of contradiction, principle of non-contradiction (PNC), or the principle of contradiction) states that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e. g. the two propositions “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive. Formally this is expressed as the tautology.

One reason to have this law is the principle of explosion which states that anything follows from a contradiction. The law is employed in a reductio absurdum proof.

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