Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Sexy Truth

"What you you think truth is?"

"Everybody knows what truth is.  Truth is telling it like it is.  Having your thoughts match the facts, having your sentences match the universe.  ..."

"... It's not just a correct relationship between abstract thought and concrete reality.  I think it's a personal relationship - in fact it's a sexual relationship between us and reality."


"Yes.  To know thruth is to be impregnated, to become pregnant in your mind.  [To conceive].  Truth is the mind's lover, the mind's husband."

"I never thought of truth that way.  But what is truth to a man then?  A homosexual relationship?"

"No, because homosexuals don't get pregnant.  It's a heterosexual relationship to men too - all men - because our minds are female.  All minds are wombs."

-- from Jacob's Ladder by Peter Kreeft - "Step One: Passion".  Thanks to John Ossi.


Paul Stilwell said...

Yes, and German nihilists are all conceiving the children of their rapists.

"All minds are wombs."

If you would pardon the pun and the innuendo, that is what we call a fallacious preconception. It is wrong. All minds that can be spoken of as minds are becoming more and more *minds* by going out of themselves. And they can go out of themselves to converse with reality precisely because the mind is more than a womb. Minds are like Gothic architecture being built; but Gothic architecture that is being watched over by an architect - the mind.

People run into so many errors and sins because they insist on believing they have been given something akin to an empty but fertile womb which is passively waiting impregnation and then a child which it names Truth, when in fact God is saying to them, "No, no, I have given you a Gothic architect, and he is to build truth from my creation; the "building" of truth is actually revelation; the ascension of the building, of its spires, is revelation. Ultimately, it is revelation that is building your building. And the building is not so much essentially there for you to inhabit, as much it is there for you to go out from."

The building that we go out from determines our relationship with reality. Just like the homes that we come from.

That is putting inadequately, I know.

G.K. Chesterton speaks beautifully about this in his biography of St. Thomas Aquinas. I recall one passage in particular in which he says that Aquinas says to each person there is something like a diamond already there in the depths of your mind. Not an egg awaiting ovulation. A brilliant diamond.

Or perhaps an eye.

The mind does not blindly wake to find itself in a room and then begins to discern the various aspects of architecture and furnishings and keystones by which it has been "impregnated" and then by which it is guided.

It is rather that the mind wakes precisely because it is in a room. This is why the "function" of symbols is so fundamental to properly understand. It comes down to "Where is our bottom reality?"

The sexual difference analogy ends up creating a dichotomy and flattening of the cosmos. Which is what Christopher West does.

The mind is not like a mere receptacle, nor even an ovulating receptacle that conceives. The mind is PERSON.

St. Augustine said, "You can know something without knowing that you know it."

Take note: that is not at all like saying "You can be pregnant without knowing it - yet."

It is that the mind can definitely KNOW with out knowing that it knows.

Our minds are so utterly not autonomous. And that reality can only be affirmed when we can affirm the mystery that the mind is somehow, in some way, even when utterly isolated and impoverished, a whole, in the sense of a person.

Paul Stilwell said...

Sorry, I meant "fertilization", not "ovulation" that one sentence, "Not an egg awaiting ovulation."

Anyways, to put it shortly, to say the mind is a womb is to isolate the mind.

Paul Stilwell said...

Because the mind is both architecture and architect.

And as one goes out from the building, rather than dissipating on the horizon, the building expands and grows bigger.

Paul Stilwell said...

Another thought: the mind's "not being autonomous" is its being gratuitously gifted. Every mind is a positive and unique gift that is inextricably tied up with the person. It is not a womb, nor a phallus, nor both a womb and a phallus.

When our mothers were in labour, giving to birth to us, we ourselves in those very same minutes were also already in labour.

We are born into this world already pregnant.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Paul, I think there's some truth to what you say, though pushing it too far would give us a kind of Kantian subjectivism, but I think you're quite right as far as you go.

And I don't think Peter Kreeft would deny what you've said. I have taken these quotations from a chapter of his about Passion. His point in this chapter is that you can't find truth unless you hunger for it, unless you're passionate about it: longing and panting the way the deer longs for water, so to speak.

Which is another way of saying that we as persons seek Truth, who is a person. The quest and the discovery are never impersonal, though that does not mean merely subjective, or tainted by our own predispositions. It does mean that it is "Erotic" (of Eros) and an aspect of love.