Tag: mind

Modernism’s Malice – V

Modernism’s Malice – V posted in Eleison Comments on June 13, 2020

There is at least one more important consideration to be presented before we leave modernism alone (at least for the time being), and it is a prophecy of Fr Frederick Faber (1814–1863), concerning our own times, which has surely appeared already more than once in these “Comments.” He said words to the effect that the end of the world will be characterised by men doing evil while they think they are doing good.

It stands to reason. Even at world’s end men will still have their God-given nature, which as such is good, underlying their original and personal sins, however heavy these are in the last times – II Tim. III, 1–5. By this underlying nature which underlies even their inborn original sin, men have an underlying natural inclination to good. Yet the mass of men under the Antichrist and his predecessors will have gone along with his evil, actual or anticipated. How will this good and this evil have been compatible inside them?

The human will can want nothing that the human mind has not first presented to it. In front of every human desire must go a human thought. The desire of a non-object can only be a non-desire. Therefore the will depends on the mind to have grasped its object for it, and between every will and the object it wants must have come the mind, always assuming that the mind grasps its own object. But now comes Kant who says that the mind cannot grasp its own real object, it can only grasp what it itself fabricates. This means that the will and its real object are no longer properly connected. This means that a good will can will things in reality bad and a bad will can will something in reality good, but given men’s original sin the latter case will be less frequent. And so when Kant unhooks the mind from objective reality, he is making it that much easier for the will to want something bad while it appeared to be good. Thus in today’s whole world of minds unhooked from objective reality, it is that much easier for men still to be of good will even when they are wanting what is in reality not good, because the mind has been radically crippled.

Here is what Fr Faber is prophesying. He is saying that by the end of the world, the problem need not be so much bad hearts or ill-will as good hearts with crippled minds, in other words good hearts with bad principles. What does this mean in practice? It means that today there will be a large number of Catholics who can have the Faith and who mean well, but whose minds are malfunctioning because they follow, consciously but more often unconsciously, the teaching of Kant, so that their good will is correspondingly adrift. Then they can no longer see how the Newchurch is a gangrene upon the true Catholic Church, or how the Archbishop’s Society of St Pius X is being gangrened by his successors. But in many cases the blindness of such souls is not necessarily out of malice or a lack of good will.

It follows that in dealing with such souls in which the subjective has been split from the objective by a whole world crippled by Kant, a Catholic can easily make one of two opposed but connected errors. Either he can say that such souls are so innocent of heart that they cannot be mistaken in mind, so the Newchurch cannot be all that mistaken, and so he should rejoin it, Pachamama and all – thus behave today the Newsociety’s leaders and all those following them. Or he can say that the errors in the mind of the Newchurch and the Newsociety wishing to rejoin it are so grave that they cannot possibly be the true Church or the true Society, and both must be absolutely shunned – thus argue and behave those known as sedevacantists and those who may refuse the label of sedevacantism but take sedevacantist positions.

On the contrary, if I recognise how Kant began the split of subject from object, I will say neither that such souls are of good will and therefore their doctrine is good, nor that their doctrine is so false that they must be of bad will. Instead I will say that subjectively they may be of good will, but in any case they are objectively of such bad doctrine that for my eternal salvation I cannot follow them or keep them company. And with the Holy Rosary I will beg Our Lady to keep my heart and mind balanced in truth.

Kyrie eleison.

Artificial Intelligence – II

Artificial Intelligence – II posted in Eleison Comments on July 21, 2018

Artificial Intelligence is in fact a contradiction in terms. Anything artificial cannot be intelligent. Anything truly intelligent cannot be artificial. Any intelligent being must (as such) be living, spiritual and free. Anything artificial must (as such) be non-living and material and cannot be free. Therefore nothing artificial can be intelligent in the true sense of the word, and nothing truly intelligent can be artificial. An intelligence can be created by God alone. Man can create only things artificial.

To show as much, let us assume with the “Comments” of last week that there are three ranks of spiritual beings: the (1) Creator, (2) angels and (3) men, and four ranks of material beings: (3) men, (4) animal, (5) vegetable and (6) mineral. This means that man is the most complicated of creatures, because he alone is both spiritual and material. If anybody claims that man is purely material, he is probably making the most elementary of errors in philosophy, namely that only material beings exist. That error is widespread in our materialistic world of today, but either such a man has never thought or loved, or he is denying the full nature of his own experience. But if then he is nothing but matter, why does he have such a sharp sense of his own human dignity? And why does he behave as though freedom is of supreme importance to him?

In fact the six ranks of being can be graded by how far they climb out of matter. (6) Mineral is locked into matter but (5) plants are not so locked – they live and move, but still they are fixed in place and know nothing outside of themselves. (4) Animals live and move, but are not fixed in place and they have sense-knowledge and sense-desire of material things outside themselves. (5) Men live and move, are not fixed in place, and have not only sense-knowledge and sense-desire of material particulars outside themselves, but also intelligence and desire by will of non-material universals outside themselves, which is a huge step forward in climbing free of matter. The word “intelligence” comes from the Latin “intus-lego,” meaning “within I read,” that is to say, intelligence reads within things sensed their non-material form or essence. This is because intelligence, and the will which follows it, are both spiritual faculties, belonging to that part of man which is, as such, free from matter and above matter.

And upon these two faculties follows the freedom of (3) man’s will, shared by no other (4) animals which are all locked into their instincts. And that freedom manifests even to the most atheistic of materialists his superior dignity above all mere (4) animals, if he is only honest enough to recognise the fact. Above man are the (2) angels who are purely spiritual and intelligent but still particular beings, whereas (1) the Creator is universal spiritual Being Itself, locked into no matter nor even into any particularity.

Thus (3) man is living, and spiritual by his immortal soul with its intelligence and will which are the foundation of his free-will, making him free. Now is anything “artificial,” like a computer or a robot, either living or spiritual or free? Firstly, is not living from within itself. Nature spills human, animal and plant seed in all directions, and every seed contains life. But despite tremendous effort now for many years, human art has not succeeded in creating one seed with life inside it (and one suspects it never will). Secondly, if nothing made by human art is living, still less can it be spiritual, because a spiritual being presupposes a high (3) form of life. And thirdly no computer or robot made by man can possibly be free, because free-will presupposes a spiritual intelligence which no human art can fabricate. A (3) spiritual intelligence can be created not even by a (2) angel, but by (1) the Creator alone, God.

Therefore (6) computers and computer-driven robots cannot be living, and can initiate nothing outside what has been programmed into them. They cannot be intelligent in the full sense of the word, because that requires a spiritual being which God alone can create. And so they cannot be free to make any decision on their own, they are mere (6) machines, locked inside their (6) material programme. To credit them with any human passions, original thinking or freedom is simply childish materialism.

Kyrie eleison.

Accursed Liberals

Accursed Liberals posted in Eleison Comments on December 3, 2011

Liberalism is a frightful disease, consigning to eternal Hell millions upon millions of souls. It “liberates” the mind from objective truth and the heart (will and affections) from objective good. The subject reigns supreme. It is man in the place of God, with man allowing to God only as much importance as man chooses to allow him, and that is normally not much. Almighty God is put on a leash, so to speak, like an obedient little puppy dog! In fact the “God” of the liberals is a mockery of the true God. But “God is not mocked” (Gal.VI, 7). Liberals are punished already in this life by becoming false crusaders, true tyrants, and effeminate men.

A classic example of the false crusader is provided by the revolutionary priests in Latin America, according to Archbishop Lefebvre. He used to say that priests losing the Faith under the influence of the modernizing movement in the Church made the most terrible of revolutionaries, because to the false crusade of Communism they would bring all the force of the true crusade for the salvation of souls, for which they had been trained, but which they no longer believed in.

The true crusade being for God, for Jesus Christ, for eternal salvation, then when it is no longer believed in, it leaves a correspondingly huge gap in people’s lives, which they attempt to fill by crusading for anything and everything: for a ban on tobacco (but freedom for marihuana and heroin); for a ban on capital punishment (but freedom to execute efficacious right-wingers); for a ban on tyrants (but freedom to bomb any country into “democracy”); for the sacredness of man (but freedom to abort the human baby in the womb) – the list can go on and on. The contradictions just highlighted are perfectly consistent in the liberals’ crusade for a total new world order to replace the Christian world order. They pretend they are not fighting Christ, but the pretence is wearing thin.

Liberals also become, logically, true tyrants. Since they have “liberated” themselves from any God or Truth or Law above them, then there remains only the authority of their own minds and wills to impose on their fellow human beings whatever it may be. For example, having lost all sense of any Tradition limiting his authority, Paul VI forced upon the Catholic Church in 1969 his New Order of Mass, to fit the New World Order, regardless of the fact that only two years before a significant number of bishops had rejected a substantially similar experimental rite of Mass. What did he care for the opinions of anyone beneath him, unless they were liberals like himself? They did not know what was good for them. He did.

Logically again, liberals become effeminate, because they cannot help taking everything personally. Yet any sane opposition to their authoritarianism is based on that Truth or Law above all human beings which the liberals are flouting. That is how Archbishop Lefebvre resisted the liberalism of Paul VI, but Paul VI could only think that the Archbishop wanted to take his place as Pope. He was incapable of understanding that there was a far higher Authority than his own, on which the Archbishop in all tranquillity was leaning. Who needs to worry that the Lord God will ever fail?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, grant us to deserve the good leaders who can come only from you.

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – II

Benedict’s Thinking – II posted in Eleison Comments on July 16, 2011

If one divides into four parts Bishop Tissier’s study of the thinking of Benedict XVI, then the second part presents its philosophical and theological roots. By analyzing the philosophy first, the Bishop is following Pius X’s great Encyclical “Pascendi.” If a wine bottle is dirty inside, the very best of wine poured into it will be spoiled. If a man’s mind is disconnected from reality, as it is by modern philosophy, then even the Catholic Faith filtered through it will be disoriented, because it will no longer be oriented by reality. Here is Benedict’s problem.

Like Pius X before him, the Bishop attributes the prime responsibility for this disaster of modern minds to the German Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel KANT (1724–1804), who finalized the system of anti-thought, prevailing now everywhere, which excludes God from rational discourse. For if, as Kant claimed, the mind can know nothing of the object except what appears to the senses, then the mind is free to reconstruct the reality behind the sense appearances however it may like, objective reality is dismissed as unknowable, and the subject reigns supreme. If the subject needs God and postulates his existence, well and good. Otherwise, so to speak, God is out of luck!

Bishop Tissier then presents five modern philosophers, all grappling with the consequences of Kant’s subjective folly of putting idea over reality and subject over object. The two most important of them for this Pope’s thinking might be Heidegger (1889–1976), a father of existentialism, and Buber (1878–1965), a leading exponent of personalism. If essences are unknowable (Kant), then there remains only existence. Now the most important existent is the person, constituted for Buber by intersubjectivity, or the “I-You” relationship between subjective persons, which for Buber opens the way to God. Therefore knowledge of the objective God is going to depend on the subjective involvement of the human person. What an insecure foundation for that knowledge!

Yet involvement of the human subject will be the key to Benedict’s theological thinking, influenced firstly, writes the Bishop, by the renowned School of Tuebingen. Founded by J.S. von Drey (1777–1853), this School held that history is moved by the spirit of the age in constant movement, and this spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Therefore God’s Revelation is no longer the Deposit of Faith closed at the death of the last Apostle, and merely made more explicit as time goes on. Instead, it has a constantly evolving content to which the receiving subject contributes. So the Church of each age plays an active and not just passive part in Revelation, and it gives to past Tradition its present meaning. Is this beginning to sound familiar? Like the hermeneutic of Dilthey? See EC 208.

Thus for Benedict XVI God is not an object apart nor merely objective, he is personal, an “I” exchanging with each human “You.” Scripture or Tradition do come objectively from the divine “I,” but on the other hand the living and moving “You” must constantly re-read that Scripture, and since Scripture is the basis of Tradition, then Tradition too must become dynamic by the subject’s involvement, and not just static, like Archbishop Lefebvre’s “fixated” Tradition. Similarly theology must be subjectivized, Faith must be a personal “experiencing” of God, and even the Magisterium must stop being merely static.

“Accursed is the man that puts his trust in man” says Jeremiah (XVII, 5).

Kyrie eleison.

Traditional Infection

Traditional Infection posted in Eleison Comments on January 29, 2011

Liberalism is an unbelievable disease, capable of rotting out the best hearts and minds. If we define it, most briefly, as the liberation of man from God, it is as old as the hills, but never has it been so deep or widespread or seemingly normal, as it is today. Now religious liberty is at the heart of liberalism – what use is it to be free from everything else and everybody else if I am not free from God? So if Benedict XVI lamented three weeks ago that “religious freedom is threatened all over the world,” he is certainly infected. Nor let even followers of Catholic Tradition be confident that they have immunity from the disease. Here is an e-mail I received a few days ago from a layman in Continental Europe:—

“For the longest time, about 20 years, I was moulded by liberalism. It is through the grace of God that I underwent a conversion with the Society of St Pius X. To my shock I have found liberal behaviour even in the ranks of Tradition. People are still saying that one should not exaggerate how bad things are at present. Freemasonry is hardly mentioned as being an enemy of the Church, because to do so might damage one’s personal interests, so people go on reacting as though, overall, the world is still in good shape.

“Some Traditionalists even recommend psycho-drugs to deal with the stress that goes with being a Traditional Catholic, and if you are looking for happiness, they say, you should go to a medical doctor to make life easier.

“The consequence of such behaviour is an indifferentism which is the seed-bed of liberalism. All of a sudden it is no longer so bad to attend the Novus Ordo Mass, to make common cause with modernists, to change one’s principles from one day to the next, to give up showing one’s faith in public, to study at a State university, to trust the State, and to act on the assumption that everybody does after all mean well.

“Our Lord has harsh words for this sort of indifferentism: the lukewarm he will “begin to spit out of his mouth” (Rev. III, 16). It may sound paradoxical, but the greatest enemies of the Church are liberal Catholics. There is even a liberal Traditionalism!!!” (end of layman’s quote).

What then is the antidote for this poison that threatens every one of us? Sanctifying grace, no doubt (Rom.VII, 25), which can clear the mind of confusion, and strengthen the will to do what the mind sees to be right. And how do I make sure of sanctifying grace? That is a little like asking, how can I guarantee my final perseverance? The Church teaches that one cannot guarantee it, because it is a gift – or the gift – of God. But what I can always do is pray the Holy Rosary, an average of five Mysteries a day – better, if reasonably possible, fifteen. Whosoever does that is doing what the Mother of God asks all of us to do, and she has a virtually unlimited maternal power over her Son, Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.

Kyrie eleison.

Unthinkable Thinking

Unthinkable Thinking posted in Eleison Comments on January 1, 2011

It is difficult not to think that 2011 will be a momentous year. The world lies in darkness of mind and corruption of will. The Church which should be “light of the world” for the mind and “salt of the earth” against corruption of the will, is in eclipse. It is still there, but its light and warmth, by the fault of men, barely reach them any longer.

Such being the case, troubles of the world and from the world must come upon us. There is going to be, this year or soon after, an unimaginable sea-change in human affairs. The inexorable laws of reality are about to turn world economics upside down, yet most “economists,” professional fools, are still peddling dreamland. To help family fathers in particular to think “outside the box,” let me quote some advice from one writer and speaker on practical affairs who has rather less lost his grip on reality: Gerald Celente, from the New York area (trendsresearch.com):—

We are continually asked to provide specific trend-focused guidance on what to do to weather the financial storms . . . There are no simple or one-size-fits-all solutions. Every individual situation is different. If you are unemployed in a rural area, you will have a different set of possibilities, and a different set of problems, than people in cities or suburbs.

The key element to realize is that this is going to be a long haul. This is a time of contraction, and a time for conservation and preservation. Overall, there will be less disposable income, and fewer dollars to spend on non-essentials. What was considered an “essential” when money flows becomes “frivolity” when it dries up.

When looking for work, if your better judgment tells you the job you had is no longer an option (real estate agent, mortgage broker, publishing, construction, retail, auto worker, etc.), now may be the time, if at all practical, to live out your dream. What have you always wanted to do? Have you discovered any unique talents and abilities that set you apart from others? Look systematically at what you would most enjoy doing and what the chances are to make a living out of it. That’s a starting point. If the only work you can find is menial, be the best at it. Do it with creativity and without resentment, and higher level possibilities will present themselves. If you do what you love, you’ll never have to “work.” One definition of happiness might be: “When you wake up in the morning and what you have to do is what you would choose to do.”

“Assess your personal situation. Look for people of like mind, in similar situations with complementary skills. There is strength in numbers. A group with a goal can initiate a program that would be unthinkable and unworkable for an individual.”

The underlinings are mine. I shall be delighted if I prove to be wrong, but I do think now that action’s top priority is soon going to be survival. Gerald Celente provides here a few lines of thought. Pray, of course, that is essential, but as the old saying goes, also keep rowing to shore.

To all readers I send my blessing for the New Year.

Kyrie eleison.