Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cognition - And Other Issues - Final Part

What, then, finally of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars? Are they, each one, a Substantial Form? Like the Earth with its waters, the Sun, Moon and Stars fulfill the 3rd requirement: they cannot be subsumed. They seem to be incommunicable, complete and autonomous. But are they? Do they not depend in a rather absolute way – upon the firmament in which they have been set on Day Four? The waters cannot exist without some kind of container, such as the ocean’s shores, the river’s banks, the firmament for those above? It seems to me that all of these larger parts, as well as the atomic and other particles, require a larger Substance in which they inhere as to be what they are: accidental forms, not substantial. Did not St. Thomas recognize this implicitly when he said: “The world is composed of the whole of its matter. For it is not possible for there to be another earth than this one – since every earth would naturally be carried to this central one, wherever it was. The same applies to the other bodies which are part of the world. (ST,I,q.47,a3. - See answers to all the objections. “No agent intends material plurality as the end…”)

My present thinking about organ donation and related topics has not changed since previous statements. All “scientific” experiments involving human body parts – I find extremely repulsive, and I truly believe they are all deeply immoral. It is agreed, I think, amongst Traditional thinkers, that “brain death” ought to be considered illegal as a test of body death. All organ transplants require a living organ. The implications are quite obvious. I even question now, the very common giving of blood. And I find the issue of frozen embryos highly questionable. If an adult human body is frozen, death certainly ensues. But embryos are routinely frozen and thawed and implanted!?! I wonder if we have the whole truth here? Maybe there is some truth in the medieval idea of the vegetative soul preceding the sensitive and the sensitive preceding the rational. Cardinal Mercier of Louvain, (and the villain in the so-called mandate to accommodate Thomism to modern science’s “method and data”). (See this writer’s “A Great Betrayal”) --- also was a proponent of the medieval embryology, as opposed to the modern pro-life consensus that at the time of conception, i.e., fertilization, the soul is present, when the genetic complement is complete. 
The method of modern science is the exclusion, the absolute ruthless exclusion, of any relation or reference of creatures to the Creator-God. And the “data” of modern science is the imposed ideology of evolution, which is also and just as ruthlessly, that is, categorically ruled to be the given that replaces the real and true givens of the First Principles of all knowledge. The marvel is that this great deception has succeeded for so long to convince so many people that it is the truth about reality. I think it is evidence, before all else, of the power of the authority of knowledge. This is Lucifer’s Masterpiece: the evolutionary worldview – starting with the heliocentric cosmology of Copernicus and Galileo. With the fixed-central Earth dislodged and sent whirling and twirling like any other planet, the entire cosmological order of reality was bound to produce a chaos in men’s minds. It could not disturb the Created Order, which continues the same as God created it and fixed it on Days One, Two, Three and Four – in preparation for Adam as the prototype of the God-Man Jesus Christ, Our Lord and His Immaculate Mother Mary, the Second Adam and Second Eve to redeem us from the ruinous fall of our first parents. It remains to demonstrate – that the elements are accidental forms, NOT substantial forms. This is best done, I believe, by showing how they operate – always – as the model properties of one or the other of Aristotle’s nine categories of accidents of some substance.

I think it was John Locke who first made a big To-Do over what he called Galileo’s secondary qualities, such as color and sound. This issue was also first brought into prominence for me when one of the boys I was home-schooling, one who had been through the first six grades in a public school, refused absolutely to believe that there was any objective reality to color or to sound. Color, he was convinced, and so remains to this day – I suppose – is due entirely to the rods and cones in the eye. With sound, it is entirely to the action of the apparatus in the ear. The way he put it was that if a tree fell in the forest, there was NO sound at all, if there was no one to perceive it. What must be emphasized, therefore, is the objective reality of dimensive and continuous matter or atomic motion. The particles of material forms are always in motion, and this motion, whether measured and perceived by anyone or not, takes place as a result - as an effect of the action of some material – secondary cause, created by God. The same is true of the colors generated by the photons of light in the air. It is the finite character of the Prime or Primary Matter of the Universe – what St. Thomas designates when he says that the “world, that is, the Universe, is composed of the Whole of its matter”, (ST. I, q.47, a.3) – it is the potencies contained in this immensity – the virtually infinite number of potentialities for all material-corporeal beings, including Man – that determine, in conjunction with each specific form – the essential nature of each, in the Order of Generation, but always preserving the substantial forms of the Order of Creation.

Agency and Passivity are the two categories that follow quantity and quality in the list of nine categories of accidental forms. And they designate the areas of secondary causality. There are two areas most clearly illustrative of secondary causality and the production of accidental forms. One is the transmission by generation of the substantial forms of each physical species. A. in plants of the cereal forms – the flowering forms and the tree forms. B. in all the marine forms and the birds. C. in all land animal forms and D. of man-kind.

In all of these areas, the Substantial Forms of the Order of Creation are transmitted by the male-female reproductive process which produces new Substantial Forms, without any substantial change in the parents. The same is true in the areas of making things wherein the beings who are Substantial Forms, make things of beauty and of use. They are Secondary Causes, acting under God’s primary efficient Causality. (See the 2nd Way of St. Thomas). In the area of Art, the maker or cause is a Substantial Form, and the product or effect is an accidental form. In the Inanimate domain of the elements, we have innumerable examples of agency and passive receptivity on the part of the elements, illustrating the operations of accidental forms amongst themselves – obeying the laws of the Substance into which they have been subsumed. Here, I need the help of a physicist and chemist to illustrate the many operations of physical and chemical change on the part of the elements – especially as they climb up the ladder of the Hierarchy of Being, from one-celled plants and animals, to the human body in its fallen state, and in the perfect integral Sacred Humanity of the God-Man and His Immaculate Mother Mary. The Category of Relation is one that needs special attention. For Aristotle, it meant consanguinity. But it can be extended to designate any inter-relatedness between beings, such as our relatedness to the environment and to other human beings. The notion of value, under the new “science of aetiology, (please check me on this), is an attempt, in my opinion, to replace the notions of natural and un-natural, of virtue and vice – or sin with a notion of “value”.

(ST, I-II, q.31, a.7)

In an article “asking” whether any pleasure is not natural? St. Thomas answers that in man, what is natural can be taken in two ways: One being pleasures that are experienced when one acts in accord with reason. For instance, it is natural to man to take pleasure in contemplating the Truth and in doing works of virtue. The second being – and here I invite the reader to read for himself – what St. Thomas says and especially his use of the term – connatural, which I have seen printed as connatural and I do not think they are the same. St. Thomas relates this second kind of pleasure to an individual deviation, disorder or corruption of nature in an individual and peculiar to him as individual. Such are from the body, from some ailment, or from an evil temperament – or on the part of the soul. Thus from custom – some take pleasure in cannibalism or in the unnatural intercourse of men and beasts, or other such things, which are not in accord with human nature. (ST.I-II, q.31, a.7)

It is in objection (2) that the objector quotes from Aristotle’s Metaphysics, v.5 – whatever is violent causes grief, for whatever is against nature is violent. Therefore, nothing which is unnatural can give pleasure. And as noted above, St. Thomas points out that some individuals do take a kind of con-natural, or really unnatural, pleasure in certain actions related to nature, but in an improper or unnatural or con-natural way. Well, the homosexuals, lovers of animals, and other lovers of the unnatural, could take this text from St. Thomas as their basic “justification”, I suppose, as Modernists are prone to do. I prefer to use such terms as unnatural and perverse – rather than connatural or co-natural. But I see St. Thomas’ point. The Objector was simply denying that even some actions so un-natural as to be perverse and mortally sinful in God’s sight – as St. Thomas surely demonstrates in his discussions of sin in the human act – are still so close to the natural pleasure as to offer to some individuals of a corruption in their body or in their soul, a kind of substitute for the natural pleasure. And he gives example of those who in a fever, taste sweet as bitter, those of an undisciplined, evil temperament – may commit totally irrational acts, such as eating dirt or hot coals, etc. This digression was occasioned by an interested reader who asked for more on proper and improper relations.

In the area of the natural sciences, Aristotle’s category of relation- I have extended to designate the relatedness between the atoms that causes them to be attracted or repulsed to or by each other. I suppose it would come under the valency of the electron and the bonding conditions. Here is where so much research needs to be done by those with expertise in such fields as pure physics and all the areas of chemistry in the life sciences. Time and Place are the next two categories and I have written at length on both of these in previous works. Time, was created on Day One as it began with the first motion of a physical particle. Its measurement by man was determined by God Himself with the inauguration of Days and the movements of the Sun, Moon and Stars. Adam, and his sons, made great use of the constellations by imposing the primary figures of the Redemption on these starry configurations. See Joseph Seiss – THE GOSPEL IN THE STARS. Any attempt to replace this realistic notion of time and of time coupled with space, in some kind of continuum, is only Einstein’s mental-mathematical construct - a work of science fiction at best and at worst.

As for Place, the Body of the Universe is, itself, one vast, immense created place for all of God’s creatures, including the Angels! On this subject, with special reference to HEAVEN AS A PLACE, see the excellent article of that title, by Robert Siscoe, in the Catholic Family News, for September of 2013. Posture and Clothing relate specifically to those accidents or properties of human beings that are accidental in the most superficial and external sense, but could be found quite relevant to someone deeply and thoroughly versed in physics, and the differing geometric shapes that the atoms assume in their many operations. In fact, the Platonists of the Pythagorean tradition – not only discovered the “music of the spheres” – but also the (5) Platonic solids in their emphasis upon the mathematical marvels – evidenced in Creation, for we know from Divine Revelation – that God hath ordered all things by measure, number and weight….mightily and sweetly. (Wisdom 1:8 and 11:21.)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cognition - And Other Issues - Part 2

Based on the authority of St. Thomas and the First Principles incorporated in his 5 ways of demonstrating God’s Existence, and on the experiential fact that the human mind in its very First acts of Cognition, which are non-conceptual and judgmental, that is, affirming BEING as such….maintain that the human intellect and will, is conformed by its very nature to the Reality of the extra-mental world and its existence. Then comes the affirmation of the fact that things not only exist – but exist as certain identifiable things, not only identifiable but reasonable. These First Principles have been labeled and analyzed as: 
The Principle of non-contradiction, or the Principle of Being as being and not non-being, which are contradictory, so that it is absolutely certain that a thing cannot be and not-be at the same time. And given all circumstances, there cannot be a horse here and now and this same animal, we are told, some millions of years ago, was a different kind of animal – that changed into its present form and is still in the process of changing into some other kind of animal in the future. In other words, all things are becoming and there is no permanent or stable form of physical being anywhere in the history of the physical world. This philosophy of becoming violates the First Principle of non-contradiction, or, to state it in more experiential terms, the evolutionary philosophy of becoming – violates the First Principle, which apprehends and affirms by an affirmative judgment of the mind, vis a vis the Real world, that some things, based on the Second First Principle of
Identity….that some things that are identifiable by their nature or essence – are fixed in that essence or nature and will not change over time.

This, in turn, is based on a third First Principle, called the Principle of Sufficient Reason or Intelligibility. It should be evident by now that the First Principles are so related, as almost to be one instead of several.

The Principle of Sufficient Reason or Intelligibility, immediately gives rise to the Principle of Causality, and this is where the most popular principle emerges, for example, in the famous Argument from Design, made popular by Anglican minister William Paley and his book, NATURAL THEOLOGY, (ca 1830.) Paley actually represents a kind of ragged remnant of the great medieval synthesis, and specifically the 5th way of proving God’s existence in the Second question of the Summa of St. Thomas. But what is most enduring throughout this history of the de-constructioning of the great Medieval synthesis, is the fact that the human mind has not changed in its innate and created ability to affirm and to analyze the structures of the real world, in which we live and move and have our being – our very existence from God the Creator. I have just been reminded that action or the practical side of life, flows directly from our intellectual “vision” of what life is all about. In other words, this is why Our Divine Lord told us that we must seek First the Kingdom of God, and then, all other things will be added. (Matt 19: 16-22)

Yes, because our nature is wounded by the consequences of Adam’s Original Sin, we suffer from a darkening of the intellect, a weakening of the will, and a strong inclination to evil on the part of our passions or emotions. This is the life-long struggle of spiritual “warfare” – to acquire dominion over our senses and the necessary discipline of our passions. As discussed previously, the whole emphasis of Eastern Catholic spirituality is to regain the state of innocence enjoyed by Adam and Eve before the Fall. But an important point to be emphasized is that spirituality must flow from, and/or be based upon, the truths of dogmatic theology. How can there be a true spirituality based on a “synthesis” of heresies that is evolutionary modernism? One sees the disastrous results of such attempts in the degrading examples of those who emphasize human behavior patterns similar to those of animals.

Let me get back to my analogy of the Body of the Universe with the human body.

The human body is ruled by the one – substantial form of the rational-spiritual form that permeates every particle of the human body, until the separation of soul and body at death. St. Thomas says that the soul contains the body, not the body the soul, as the Platonists hold. The soul is in the body as containing it, not as contained by it. (ST,I,q52, a.1) I suggest that what takes the place of the soul in the Body of the Universe is electricity in its most refined and invisible forms. For example, the very recent observations of what is called entanglement, involves electrons “communicating” over long distances (by telephone ?!?)! -- What is between them is assumed to be a vacuum, and so, the modern scientist holds this up as an example of action at a distance. But this is a premature conclusion. Aristotle held, and it is absolutely true – that nature abhors a vacuum. There is no such thing in nature as a vacuum. What is between the electrons in “entanglement” is the potency in the Prime Matter of the Body of the Universe, because the electrons are always in motion and motion is defined by Aristotle and St. Thomas as the passage from potency to act wrought by an agent-electron in a “patient-electron” so disposed to receive such action. There is no vacuum. There is only the passage of the process involving the change from potency to act – wrought by some agent. There must always be the agent in any motion – an agent with an end or goal in view.

The “memory” that the moderns are attributing to the electrons is simply the manifestation of a seeming intelligence in the inanimate elements, but is the set of physical laws created for the elements, as of physics and chemistry – the laws that the empiricists discover over the years, as Boyle’s Law about gases (Boyle died in 1691) and the many laws about the elements and how they can bond, that is their valency. This is obviously what is involved in entanglement. So much for the Soul of the Body of the Universe. It has no soul, but like the plants and animals, although on a much lower, because totally inanimate level in the Hierarchy of Being, it has a material-formal principle – which I suggest is some form of electricity, permeating the Universe, as its Prime Matter and that of all Substantial and accidental forms in the processes of change that govern all things. St. Thomas’ 5th Way explains how beings with no intellectual soul perform actions that seem to be intelligent. This applies a fortiori to the elements, particles and photons of the inanimate realm of action. Now for those parts of the Body of the Universe that most seem to be substances existing in themselves and not inhering in a larger substance: There are the Earth, Water, certain elements such as gold, and the celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. It seems there may be an analogy with the brain, the heart and the other “vital organs”. But though the analogy is crude, at best, there does not seem to be one.

Human Body ------Body of the Universe

Brain/Intellect – gives light ------- Sun, Moon and Stars

Heart – Will – circulation of blood --------- Earth and Waters

In both cases, the parts shown are certainly essential for the proper functioning of the Body as One system informed by one Substantial Form in the case of the human body. But is it also the case in the Body of the Universe? Is there but ONE Substantial Form – or are there several?

I maintain that the Earth, for example, first of all, is NOT a planet orbiting the sun, but rather, is the center of the Universe, and therefore analogous in some ways ,to the heart in the human body. But while the Earth does not move, as the human heart pumps the blood throughout the human body, the Earth is the place where all the rivers and oceans distribute the vital-for-life waters. And all the rivers flow down to some larger sea and eventually, all the rivers of a continent flow into one of the great oceans or gulfs. The analogy is even cruder with the Brain and the Sun, Moon and Stars. In fact, the analogy ends with that of light. I submit that the tendency to see gold and other elements as substances is due to the fact that objects of great beauty, or value, or use are made with them. But St. Thomas teaches quite emphatically, that all art forms are accidental forms. No matter how beautiful the cathedral’s architecture, or the sculptor’s statue, or the painter’s canvas, or the composer’s symphony – all objects and forms of artistic work are man-made. As such, the efficient cause is a man or woman – a human being acting as a secondary cause.  The first efficient cause is always God the Creator – Who created the materials used by the artist on one of the Days of Creation Week. (See this writer’s Study of Beauty.) All of technology, of which men are so proud today, is but a useful exploitation of the materials and elements God created in the beginning of time. Every so-called “substance” of human invention and artistry can be traced to something that God created on one of the First Six Days of the World.

But what of the Earth itself? Does it fulfill the four criteria of a Substantial Form?

It could be said to be complete in itself - containing all that is necessary for its earthly perfection. But does it really? Is it really complete and perfect without the Heavens that surround it, especially the Sun and Moon?

Is the Earth autonomous as to its existence? Again, it needs the Sun and Moon and Waters to be complete and perfect.

But all living things and the Earth also, do possess this requirement: the Earth cannot be subsumed by another being. We must go to the atomic elements, to the sub-atomic particles like the electrons, and to the photons of light to find created beings that can be subsumed by another being.

This category rightly belongs to logic and linguistic analysis – (Not necessary here. The 4th category is that of the grammatical subject.)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cognition- And Other Issues....Part 1

I have been asked to expand upon the processes of cognition, (knowledge=science), with direct reference to my views of cosmology, or, more specifically, what I call my Catholic cosmology, to distinguish it from that of the evolutionary Big Bang cosmology. First of all, I must beg the indulgence of anyone reading these papers. I am confined, (I won't say imprisoned) to a nursing home - with no way to document my statements, since my library is in storage. And so, because I write from memory, please check what I say with my previous papers and the reference I give there. Some readers may be familiar with the work of Bernard Lonergan. I am not at all conversant with his work, and so, I cannot speak in any way about it. I speak entirely out of the context of such Neo-Scholastics as Father Reginald Garigou-Lagrange, O.P., Brother Benignus, Father Celestine Bittle and Father Charles A. Hart. I am most indebted to the extensive work of lay Thomist historian Etienne Gilson. And finally, last but certainly not least, Dr. James Craig La Driere and Father (Dr.) William Joseph Rooney. Both R.I.P. These latter two professors were the major directors of Graduate programs in English literature at the Catholic Univ.of America in Washington DC, during the 1940's and 1950's, and well into the 1960's - when the proponents of Structuralism, based on the Thomistic principles of Matter and Form, were replaced by the De-Constructuralism of ---I cannot recall his full name - but any account of recent literary criticism will advert to this big change in literary studies world-wide.

I have also been urged recently by someone really more competent than myself when it comes to physics and especially chemistry - to demonstrate the assumed truth of my cosmology. I have just been re-reading my Litany of the Creator, and on page 86 of the handwritten copy, I have this statement: "Ultimately, all beings or physical existing entities, must come to this first Substantial Form, and the Material-Formal Cause of all material being." In this Litany, first written during the Lent and Paschaltide of the year 2010, I was still referring to the Body of the Universe as the Ethereal Substance. This term is cumbersome, but does designate the quintessence of Aristotle, which he termed the aether, anglicized as ether. And Aristotle's ether - I believe - is an essential constituent of the Body of the Universe. It is made up of those particulate entities - formerly recognized as the medium necessary for the operations of ALL physical beings - but invisible and perhaps, in Aristotle's mind, even insensible. And this reveals, indeed, the very point at which we must, of necessity, distinguish between the spiritual and the material. I based my conviction on the importance of this real distinction on the work of Henri Van Laer, a Dutch scientist, who insisted that ALL physical motion is local - because it takes place in the medium, which must also be physical in order to preserve the radical difference between the spiritual beings of God and of the Angels, and the inanimate physical beings of the atoms. There is no action at a distance, that is, there is always some physical contact between the two beings acting and reacting.

Does not the telephone prove this? There is actual, physical and successively, local contact, amounting to immediacy, much like the instantaneous "speed" of light, between the sounds of my voice and the voice of the one at the other end of the phone line, wherever that may be! Back to my quote from the Litany. What I have and had in mind, there is or was to trace the action of any atom or compound to its ultimate source in a Substantial Form, assuming, as I am, that all atomic and molecular structures are accidental forms of the Body of the Universe, which is the Substantial Form in which they necessarily inhere. The Body of the Universe is necessarily the only corporeal or physical Substantial Form that does not depend directly upon another physical being for its very physical life. I do not say existence - because God alone and directly is the Cause of every being's existence. And so it is also with the Body of the Universe. God alone maintains it in existence and in its physical being as a whole, with all of its particles, atoms, photons and larger parts. Here, I think, the analogy with the human body may be helpful.

The Medievals made much of the difference between the celestial bodies and the sub-lunar terrestrial bodies. And here in 1 Corinthians 15:38-41, there is also one of several New Testament confirmations of Genesis 1-5 and the very important distinction and immutability of the substantial forms created during Creation Week - just as narrated in Genesis One. St. Paul says: "and there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial. But one is the glory of the celestial and another of the terrestrial. One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, and another the glory of the stars, for star differeth from star in glory. (See Dr. Jason Lisle on this.) So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption - it shall rise in incorruption...." Before these verses, St. Paul says: "....to every seed its proper body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but one is the flesh of men, another of beasts, another of birds, another of fishes...." (1 Cor.15:38-43)

I could not wish for a better verification from Holy Scripture of the radical destination of the substantial forms that God created in the plant seeds and in the flesh of men, of beasts, of birds and of fishes on Days 5 and 6 of Creation Week. And there is also an implicit, or at least, an allowance for the admission that the celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars are of quite - radically different matter than the bodies of earth and water. There is also confirmation of a point that needs to be emphasized by Catholic scientists. I had occasion to correct a Catholic scientist who was accepting the fusion of hydrogen and helium as a process to make the heat and light of the sun. It is imperative to resist any sort of process where God's Acts of Creation and Making during the first Six Days are concerned. This is not an eccentricity of my Catholic cosmology. It is a most important point of dogmatic truth. When God created Water on Day One, hydrogen and oxygen were present in their proper quantity and ratio. The same is true of hydrogen and helium in the sun. God created these forms in toto. And it was just as necessary for the forms made of the elements in their inanimate state, in Earth, Water, Air and Fire, as it was for the Bombardier Beetle to have the Form in toto before any processes could begin. A great deceit of the evolutionists is to con the public into believing that the “pathways” --- that is, the processes going on during development in the transmission of all substantial forms, is the same as the evolutionists “pathways” in his changing of species due to the work of “natural selection” or mutations. I had occasion to see this deception in action in my analysis of The Evolution Controversy by two professors from Christendom College, and which I had the temerity to entitle – The Resolution of the Evolution Controversy. Please consult it, and be on the lookout for these deceptive “pathways” in action by the Luciferian deceits of evolutionists.

Now please allow me to draw upon the analogy of the Body of the Universe with the human body. Keeping in mind that all analogies “limp” – because there is never a perfect correspondence between forms in the different grades of the hierarchy – but only enough similarity to clarify. It may have been Blessed Hildegard of Bingen who made famous the imagery of Man as the Microcosm, but I believe it was a common theme in the earlier Fathers and Doctors of the Church. And please remember, I have no access to my usual reference books. Recall, first of all, that the Body of the Universe has no soul. The idea of a “world soul” – is Platonic or in the Platonic tradition. It is not Aristotelian or Thomistic. But this immense Body of the Universe, besides having virtually – innumerable – accidental forms in the areas of identifiable and quantifiable structures in each of the Grades of the Hierarchy of Being, also has parts that consist of a unity of particles that are strongly tempting us to label these parts as Substances. In the human body, such parts are the “vital organs” – the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and even the organs of sense, such as eyes, ears, etc. But the criteria of Substantial Form will always prove the “litmus test’ to distinguish. The current debate over brain-death in organ donation is a good example. Let us begin with Cognition and an article from the Summa (ST, I, q.47, a.3). St. Thomas says that only those can assert that many worlds exist – who do not acknowledge any ordaining wisdom, but rather believe in chance, as Democritus did, and who said that this world, besides an infinite number of other worlds, was made from a casual, i.e., concourse of atoms.

But the mind of the normal, honest man sees and affirms as a given, that is, self-evident – and therefore – undemonstrable, that this world is one by the unity of order, whereby some things are ordered to others. But St. Thomas did demonstrate that all things created by God have a relation of order to each other and to God Himself. This is his 4th Way of proving, that in demonstrating the existence of God from the evidence of the Hierarchical Order of all things. There can be no ORDER without inequality, the differing Grades of Perfection manifest in the World of Nature.