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Author: Briggs

September 30, 2018 | 2 Comments

Summary Against Modern Thought: Even Angels Want To Know More

Previous post.

Learning is endless. And Thank God for that.


1 However, it is impossible for the natural desire in separate substances to come to rest in such a knowledge of God.

2 For everything that is an imperfect member of any species desires to attain the perfection of its species. For instance, a man who has an opinion regarding something, that is, an imperfect knowledge of the thing, is thereby aroused to desire knowledge of the thing.

Now, the aforementioned knowledge which the separate substances have of God, without knowing His substance, is an imperfect species of knowledge. In fact, we do not think that we know a thing if we do not know its substance. Hence, it is most important, in knowing a thing, to know what it is. Therefore, natural desire does not come to rest as a result of this knowledge which separate substances have of God; rather, it further arouses the desire to see the divine substance.

3 Again, as a result of knowing the effects, the desire to know their cause is aroused; thus, men began to philosophize when they investigated the causes of things.

Therefore, the desire to know, which is naturally implanted in all intellectual substances, does not rest until, after they have come to know the substances of the effects, they also know the substance of the cause. The fact, then, that separate substances know that God is the cause of all things whose substances they see, does not mean that natural desire comes to rest in them, unless they also see the substance of God Himself.

Notes As we have said many times, knowledge of cause is the goal.

4 Besides, the problem of why something is so is related to the problem of whether it is so, in the same way that an inquiry as to what something is stands in regard to an inquiry as to whether it exists. For the question why looks for a means to demonstrate that something is so, for instance, that there is an eclipse of the moon; likewise, the question what is it seeks a means to demonstrate that something exists, according to the traditional teaching in Posterior Analytics II [1: 89b 22]. Now, we observe that those who see that something is so naturally desire to know why. So, too, those acquainted with the fact that something exists naturally desire to know what this thing is, and this is to understand its substance. Therefore, the natural desire to know does not rest in that knowledge of God whereby we know merely that He is.

Notes And, as our good saint said before, though in different words, the greater the mind, the greater the desire to know more.

5 Furthermore, nothing finite can fully satisfy intellectual desire. This is shown from the fact that, whenever a finite object is presented, the intellect extends its interest to something more, so that, given any finite line, it strives to apprehend a longer one; and the same thing takes place in regard to numbers. This is the reason for infinite series in numbers and in mathematical lines.

Now, the eminence and power of any created substance are finite. Therefore, the intellect of a separate substance does not come to rest simply because it knows created substances, however lofty they may be, but it still tends by natural desire toward the understanding of substance which is of infinite eminence, as we showed concerning divine substance in Book One [43].

6 Moreover, just as the natural desire to know is present in all intellectual natures, so is there present in them the natural desire to put off ignorance and lack of knowledge. Now, the separate substances know, as we have said, by the aforesaid mode of knowledge, that the substance of God is above them and above everything understood by them; consequently, they know that the divine substance is unknown to them. Therefore, their natural desire tends toward the understanding of divine substance.

7 Besides, the nearer a thing comes to its end, the greater is the desire by which it tends to the end; thus, we observe that the natural motion of bodies is increased toward the end. Now, the intellects of separate substances are nearer to the knowledge of God than our intellects are. So, they desire the knowledge of God more intensely than we do. But, no matter how fully we know that God exists, and the other things mentioned above, we do not cease our desire, but still desire to know Him through His essence. Much more, then, do the separate substances desire this naturally. Therefore, their desire does not come to rest in the aforesaid knowledge of God.

8 The conclusion from these considerations is that the ultimate felicity of separate substances does not lie in the knowledge of God, in which they know Him through their substances, for their desire still leads them on toward God’s substance.

9 Also, quite apparent in this conclusion is the fact that ultimate felicity is to be sought in nothing other than an operation of the intellect, since no desire carries on to such sublime heights as the desire to understand the truth. Indeed, all our desires for pleasure, or other things of this sort that are craved by men, can be satisfied with other things, but the aforementioned desire does not rest until it reaches God, the highest point of reference for, and the maker of, things.

This is why Wisdom appropriately states: “I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud” (Sirach 24:7). And Proverbs (9:3) says that Wisdom “by her maids invites to the tower.” Let those men be ashamed, then, who seek man’s felicity in the most inferior things, when it is so highly situated.

September 29, 2018 | 11 Comments

Insanity & Doom Update LVII

Item Senator Cruz hounded by progressives (video speaks for itself)

Item Perversion on the curriculum

Consider at what point it would be more merciful for God to destroy this land than the let the children learn that evil is good and so suffer for eternity.

Item The pics heading up today’s were circulated by the NHS of England. They show a video game controller versus a pacifier, and a pair of slutty shoes and lipstick versus a pacifier. They both say “Would you give up this?” infantilizing toy “For this?” guarantee of starting a family. They skipped the “infantilizing” and “family”, of course. The implication that young Brits should only care about Me! Me! Me! was there and plain.

The video game pic advised men to get free condoms. Well, “FREE” condoms. Who is paying for them is a mystery. For the slutty shoes, the ladies are advise they can abort their newly conceived life “up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.” “FREE”, of course. You have to admire computing the number of hours in five days.

Perhaps it was inspiration to name the acronym of these FREE services the “Walsall Integrated Sexual Health Services” WISH.

England appears dead set on committing suicide. The reasons why we are already well familiar with. The real question is: how do we talk them (and us) out of it?

Item University to rename Serra House, Serra Mall following two years of controversy

Stanford will rename the freshman dorm, Serra, and Serra House, two campus buildings honoring California mission system founder Father Junipero Serra, who has drawn sharp criticism for his mistreatment of Native Americans.

Stanford will also seek to rename Serra Mall, pending the approval of Santa Clara County and the U.S. Postal Service. This would change the University’s official address, which is currently 450 Serra Mall. If approved, Serra Mall will become Jane Stanford Way in honor of the University’s co-founder.

New names for the Serra dorm and the Serra House, an academic building that houses the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies, have yet to be determined. According to Brad Hayward, Associate Vice President for University Communications, the University will select the new name for Serra dorm after gathering student input starting this fall.

Not all landmarks that echo Serra’s name will be re-christened. Serra Street, which stretches from the end of Serra Mall to El Camino Real, will retain its name. The dorm Junipero — named for the juniper tree rather than Serra, despite popular misconceptions — will remain unchanged….

In the meeting [to highlight the faux concern of decision makers], individuals of Native American descent recounted “visceral feelings of harm, trauma, emotional damage, and damage to their mental health,” as a result of buildings honoring Serra, according to the report.

“For many of the participants, Serra’s name evokes the entire history of oppression of Native Americans,” the committee wrote.

Speaking of suicide, the “popular misconceptions” are many. If hearing the name “Serra” is going to evoke “the entire history of oppression of Native Americans”, then we ought to use it on every possible occasion. Mosey over to the Stanford coffee shop and say “I’d like a large coffee, black. Also: Junipero Serra!” Then watch the poor darling who took your order it quiver and foam at the mouth. See how many Junipero Serra Junipero Serra Junipero Serras it takes before he begins spinning in a circle.

A Junipero Serra Junipero Serra Junipero Serra historian tried to correct Standford’s idiocy, but the poor fellow who wrote an op ed in support of Junipero Serra Junipero Serra Junipero Serra
probably didn’t realize that administrators never announce they’re thinking about doing something without already have decided to do it.

Junipero Serra is a saint, incidentally. Who’s a saint? Junipero Serra Junipero Serra Junipero Serra.

Item The Most Contrarian College in America

Have I got a college for you. For your first two years, your regimen includes ancient Greek. And I do mean Greek, the language, not Greece, the civilization, though you’ll also hang with Aristotle, Aeschylus, Thucydides and the rest of the gang. There’s no choice in the matter. There’s little choice, period.

Let your collegiate peers elsewhere design their own majors and frolic with Kerouac. For you it’s Kant. You have no major, only “the program,” an exploration of the Western canon that was implemented in 1937 and has barely changed.

It’s intense. Learning astronomy and math, you don’t merely encounter Copernicus’s conclusions. You pore over his actual words. You’re not simply introduced to the theory of relativity. You read “Relativity,” the book that Albert Einstein wrote.

Diversions are limited. There’s no swimming team. No pool. The dorms are functional; same goes for the dining. You’re not here for banh mi. You’re here for Baudelaire.

I’m talking about St. John’s College

The degree to which “the program” omits the intellectual contributions of women and people of color troubles me. But many schools would be wise to consider and better integrate its philosophy

Wait. This doesn’t sound like insanity. It doesn’t sound like doom. It sounds good, ideal, desirable. Why is it here, then?

Because this came from the enemy New York Times. St John’s has been noticed. Noticing always starts like this. With praise, and with a hint of discontent (“the intellectual contributions of women and people of color”, which pale next to the contributions of pale-faces). St John’s is now a target. The left will not accept anybody in any position of authority to engage in wrongthink. St John’s has been outed. They will be attacked.

Now is the time to pray for them.

September 28, 2018 | 8 Comments

The Getting Of Bastards

‘We have kept back the pudding for you, sir,’ said Mowett, ‘and meanwhile Mr Butcher has been asking us riddles, some of them most amazingly clever. The present one, that we cannot find out, is What is never out of fashion?’

Jack tried to think of something witty to say, but wit was not at his command so soon after trying men for their lives and he sat there shaking his head, looking interested and amiable. Various suggestions came from up and down the table, but never the right answer. ‘No, gentlemen,’ said Butcher, ‘you will never guess it, though yours is quite a manly service. What is never out of fashion is the getting of bastards, ha, ha, ha!’

The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O’Brian

This plot is interesting. It’s taken from Reddit “Spikes in live births outside of marriage in England and Wales during the World Wars.” The author of the plot says the data came from the Office of National Statistics. Download the spreadsheet. There’s plenty of interesting information.

Data collections like these are never exactly certain, especially the farther one goes back in time. But this one is reasonable. It’s impossible to say with certainty, but it appears the gradual downward trend from 1845 to WWI is real.

What caused that trend? Of course, many things, because each birth had a different cause. But it may be that increasing civilization brought on by a burgeoning middle class was at least partly responsible.

The war blips are easy to explain. War is a sinful time. Husbands are away and soldiers are at play. I can’t see any real controversy in this interpretation. The timing of the spikes, given these are births in England, are surely partially the result American soldiers billeting in the Olde Country. The natural price to pay for war assistance?

The rates recovered after WWI, but never did after WWII, during which a new, and very brief, plateau was reached.

Then came the real war, a global war, the most destructive revolution the world has ever seen. There was the initial flirtation with the battle in the early 60s, and then a pause for consideration, where it was thought This might be enough, as the Greatest Generation (they said) exited their fertile years.

That’s when the storm really hit. It still rages. And, I’m delighted to tell you, it’s worse than you thought.

Why? Because this plot is not what it seems. It is an under-count of bastards, because the ratio is calculated as births “Outside marriage or civil partnership” and the sum of those and “Within marriage or civil partnership”. A civil partnership does not a marriage make. I can’t tell from this data what percentages of births came from actual marriages, but it’s a good guess this is a declining number.

In 2017 there were 352,270 marriage or “partnership” births, contrasted with 326,836 known bastards. It’s nearly a tie. And might even be one, or worse, depending on those “partnerships”.

There is a very slight near leveling off in the latter years. Perhaps this is accounted for by Muslim immigration, which is picking up steam. The change in rates from this source depends on the assimilation rate of Muslims, versus the influx of newer “old-fashioned” blood.

The world wars fought with steel had natural end points. One side looked for the other to raise the white flag, after which hostilities ended, and thus so did the war-caused getting of bastards.

Who is there to surrender to in this world war, and who does the surrendering? How can the war end when there is no way for people to know the fighting has ended?

Morals are loosened in war. When you’re in it what’s happening around you begins to look natural, as I admit to once believing, especially as the the war lengthens. This has been a very long war. More than half a century now, and hostilities are increasing.

Pleas from religious have some effect, but usually they are not decisive. So it’s not likely Muslims in England, unless they become a majority, will have much more effect. Christians in England are surrendering at rates faster than new ones are created.

The losing side usually gives up when it realizes its cause is hopeless, that to continue to fight has no upside. What could this realization hit here?

One clue is in birth age. For some reason the statistician normalizes mother’s mean birth age by some formula. At any rate, in the late 1930s the mean was 28-29 and is now approaching 31. Data before the 30s aren’t available, but would be lower. From 28 to 31 doesn’t sound much, but this is the mean, meaning roughly half the mothers are older than 31. The mean can’t, the claims and hopes of medicine and feminists aside, increase much more. The Office only bothers calculating rates up to 44 years old.

And (in Table 2) the rate per 1,000 women of births to mothers 40+ is now 16, climbing from a low in the 1970s of about 4-5. But, recovering from WWII also saw even higher numbers of 40+ births, up to 20.8 when the men came marching home in 1947.

The fertility rate in 2017 was 1.76, another number not seen since WWII. And this is, as mentioned, after Muslim immigration.

All this points to a surrender coming soon. Maybe as much as 40 years, maybe as few as 10. Events have a way of sneaking up unannounced.

September 27, 2018 | 15 Comments

I’ve Been Promoted!

Austin Ruse kindly sent me a note to tell me George Gilder referenced Uncertainty in the introduction to his new book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy.

From pages 16-17:

Though Gödel’s proof frustrated many, von Neumann found it liberating. The limits of logic—the futility of Hilbert’s quest for a hermetically sealed universal theory—would emancipate human creators, the programmers of their machines. As the philosopher William Briggs observes, “Gödel proved that axiomatizing never stops, that induction-intuition must always be present, that not all things can be proved by reason alone.”

True, true.

Universals cannot be proved. Axioms can’t be proved. Not in any empirical sense. What mathematical proof exists, even, for any axiom? None. They are accepted because they are true, they are believed because they are true. But how do we know they are true?

By that induction-intuition and induction-intellection. These are higher forms of proof than mere deduction. We learn our best truths by revelation, as it were, and as it is.

Regular readers will know all about this already. So I won’t belabor it here. Newer readers can look to this page for many articles.

Now this is a promotion, “philosopher”. The highest title I had heretofore was Staff Sergeant, which is still my favorite. That blogger guy, Some kind of Catholic nut, climate denier, X-ophobe, X-ist, where X is a variable, are others you might have heard. The titles most often used about me can’t, of course, be printed here, this being a family blog.

Still, I’ll take philosopher. Thus it is a day of celebration. It was already an International Day of Celebration, and this, it must be clear, makes it a day of Universal Celebration. Let the angels sing and so forth.

Therefore, the drinks are on me. Today. That’s if you happen to see me walking down the street. I’ll be out, too. Wearing a fedora. As usual.