Ep. 19 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Augustine and Aquinas | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 19 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Augustine and Aquinas".


Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Intro (00:00)

Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. Last time we were talking about this interaction and confluence between nascent Christianity, the transformation that's undergoing the Platonic tradition in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. We ended up by talking about Platinus and how he brings about this grand unification of the best science of the time, Aristotle the best therapy of the time, Stoicism and the best spirituality of the time, Platonism and this is done all in a way that powerfully integrates mystical experience, achieving higher states of consciousness and rational argumentation. Things that we now experience as diametrically opposed, science and spirituality, reason and transformation, therapy and realness all of these things were not, they were instead powerfully mutually supportive. Now Platinus is around 270 or so of the common era and after him of course the Roman Empire starts to go into decline and we're seeing the end of the ancient world and there is a figure there, a towering figure who basically brings this configuration, this triangle that I've mentioned, of Christianity Neoplatonism and Gnosticism together he's deeply influenced by all of them although he will eventually give priority to Christianity and that's Augustine.

Understanding St. Augustine'S Philosophy And Its Implications

St. Augustine (01:19)

So Augustine is a Roman and he's alive in the fourth century into the beginnings of the fifth century as the Roman Empire is entering its final stages. So as you can imagine that impending collapse is bringing with it a very dark vision of the world and for that reason Augustine is attracted to mannequinism now this is a religion that was started by many from Persia and many people argue that it is a Gnostic religion some people disagree with applying the term Gnostics to it again it doesn't matter, it seems to have picked up on a lot of the same kinds of ideas about machinery in which we're a mashed as creatures of light and that light has to be liberated by a special kind of Gnosis and Augustine is deeply attracted to this religion. He's attracted to this religion precisely because it is as I said it has Gnostic components in it and therefore promises to address his own personal loss of agency which I'll talk about momentarily but also to address what is becoming more and more salient to people of Augustine's time which is a world that is darkening around them. So he's influenced by that which means ideas of evil and evil powers and structures in the world are very salient to Augustine. He also deeply suffers as I mentioned personally he is driven with inner conflict. To put it I think in terms that would make sense to us today Augustine is a sex addict. He is deeply addicted to sexual behavior. He described it this way and I think this is a particularly apt way of describing his addiction. He said I was always licking the open sore of lust which gives you a very telling image of a compelling desire and yet and something disgusting and degrading and it's also exacerbating and making worse the very affliction that you're suffering. So he suffers tremendous self-loathing because of this tremendous loss of agency. And he struggles to try and find a way of getting free from his own personal inner conflict and degradation and also providing an answer to the evil that he sees in the world. He writes the first autobiography in the history of the West the Confessions and in there he relates an experience which deeply deeply affected him. I would say it came close to traumatizing him. So when he was young he relates this story he and some of his friends broke into a courtyard and stole some fruit. And you're thinking most of us would think yeah you know a young adolescent performing you know a misdemeanor act of minor theft stealing some fruit who cares. But this is Augustine. He's already enmeshed in a mannequin world view.

Sexual Addiction (05:58)

He's already deeply sort of he's becoming aware as an adolescent of how powerful his drives can be. And what affected Augustine about this very profoundly is he said he did not want the fruit. He did not desire the fruit. He wasn't really trying to impress his friends. He wasn't desiring that. He came away with a very strong experience it's almost like a reverse of a higher state of consciousness. He came away with a very strong experience that he stole the fruit simply because it was the wrong thing to do. That he wanted to do this. That was something in him that was dragging him down. And this is again why this world view appealed to him. There was these these it's like again mannequinism is very much like the Star Wars mythology of the light and the dark side. There's a dark side and it's drawing people down and it's the side of desire and anger and destruction right. And Augustine sees this alive within his own body in his sexual addiction. So he travels around the world he teaches rhetoric and he becomes eventually connected and familiar with philosophy. And something happens to him that's quite profound. He reads the work of Platonus. He reads the work of Platonus. He has very high opinion of Platonus. He later writes in Platonus Plato lived again. And he writes very glowingly of the Platonus. And in Plato and especially in Platonus Augustine sees a different way. He gets a world view other than the mannequin worldview.

How We Became Subjects (08:02)

He gets the neoplatonic worldview and he gets it. I mean this in the gnosis sense he gets it. Augustine has a mystical experience while reading Platonus. He has that ascent up to the one. He rises through the levels of reality and levels of his self and he has this mystical experience but he can't hold it. He can't stay there. The darkness in him has so much gravity pulls him back down and pulls him back towards that world of lust and addiction. That reciprocal narrowing that Mark Lewis talks about so powerfully. And he wonders, why is the gravity pulling me? Why is the darkness that pulls me down? Why is it so powerful? Is there anything that more can overpower it and pull me up? He says, I get what Platonus is talking about but the evil within me. It's too strong. The darkness pulls me down too much. He later comes to say that this is like a whole in being and it's just sucking the light away. And so he has what some people have reported having after they have some mystical experiences. He has a rebound effect of despair. It's like if I was to show you a beautiful place, this beautiful beach and when you stepped on to the beach you finally felt at peace. Like the peace you've sought all your life and there's beauty around you and you feel alive and vital. But you can't stay. Somehow you just can't hold and you're drawn away and you can't stay there. Now the place you're in, the darkness and the squalor that you're in, is so much worse because you have been in the light and you know you were incapable of staying there. So he's falling into despair and he's at his mother's house and his mother is a Christian, Monica.

An Inner Conflict (10:45)

And he's in the backyard, like the courtyard, and he's listening and he hears a child's voice say take up and read. And there's a Bible there, an early version of a Bible, and he picks it up just where it is and he happens to of course read the work of Paul. And in Paul he finds an affinity, a deep affinity, that kindred spirit because in Paul he sees that same inner conflict, that same tortured inner conflict and he sees a world view that makes sense of that inner conflict. And Augustine has this insight. He says look, look, look, pay attention to Platonus, pay attention to Plato. What are they saying? Plato and Platonus are ultimately saying we're driven by two powerful loves. We're driven by the love of becoming one within and becoming one with what is most real. Just what's driving all of our reason is love. I love that, I love for what's true, I love for what's good, I love for what is beautiful. And then he says at the heart of reason is love.

Agape: The response to evil (12:17)

And what's damaged in me is my capacity to love. Not my capacity to reason. That's why I have this sexual addiction. My capacity for love has been thwarted and twisted by my sexuality. So I need something that can heal, remember the gnosis, the healing, I need to be healed. There's a love that is within reason that can help you grow beyond reason to what reason always sought. How do we grow in love? Well agape, that's what the Christian message is. Agape, by participating in agape, we grow in love. We grow in the love that is driving us to becoming persons, fully realized persons. So Augustine says Neil Platonism needs Christianity and the healing and the response to evil that Gnosticism was looking for can actually be found in Christianity. And so he synthesizes them all together. So notice what we now have. Let's put this together very carefully in Augustine. And notice the way he's putting it. He's not putting it out there as a theory. He's writing an autobiography. He's talking about it in a perspectival and participatory way. He writes the first autobiography, The Confessions. This is not a dry academic treatise. This is an existential manual. How you can also go through the process that he has gone through. It is gnoces through and through. Okay, so from Platonus, what do we have? Well Platonus already has given us, because part of Platonus is the Aristotelian worldview. That's the nomological order we talked about. The conformity theory, the geocentric worldview, the two things in attunement. This is the best science account of the structure of reality and how reality is known. From Platonus himself, we get now what I'm going to call the normative order. Platonus gave us an account of how we can move in a coordinated fashion up the levels of reality, up the levels of consciousness, up the levels of the self, from what is less real to what is more real. What's Augustine going to do with that?

The problem of social function: peoples response to authority (15:39)

Well look, what's less real? What's down here has less oneness, less integration. It makes less sense. Look, when I destroy something, what do I do? I take away a structural functional organization. I make it more disordered. As I go downward, things are fragmenting, becoming less and less form, less and less idos. They're less and less intelligible. They're less and less understandable. This becomes more and more pure chaos. I'm losing truth. I'm losing goodness. I'm losing beauty. I'm losing what makes things to be and what makes them to be sensible and intelligible. This is evil. Down here is the, that's the whole. That's the tear in being towards which things can fall. But I can also move up to what's more true, more good, more real. And of course, what Platonus knows is that this is driven by a love, a love of knowing what is real and simultaneously becoming what is more real. And so for Augustine, this of course, and Plato even called it if you remember the good, this is the normative order. The normal logical order tells you how things are structured. The normative order tells you how you can become better, how you can deal with evil, and how you can increase realness, meaning in your life. And that, and I've shown you, he says, wait, the thing about Aristotle is, well, you know what, everything was moving to get where it belongs. Right? But that's all it is in Aristotle. But I think Augustine is basically saying that everything is moving in a way in order to try and move us away from evil towards goodness. And so he says, I think Christianity puts these two together. The world, everything is moving on purpose, and the purpose is to try and afford realization, both cognitive and in the world. Things are becoming more real, we're becoming more real, we're realizing that. And then he says, and you know what, all of this is driven by love and about the transformation that happens in me, the nasa-sagape. That's the narrative order of Christianity. There's this great narrative, there's this great story about the course of history, and the course of history is a course of moving towards a final consummation. The Promised Land. And that is the history of God's love, of God's agape, of God intervening and creating the open future. But that agape isn't just a historical force, it's also a normative force in me, it's also leading me upward towards the good. What Augustine does is he says Christianity can put all of these things together. The world is organized this way so that it moves through history this way so that all of us can self-transcend this way. All three orders come together in a mutually supporting fashion. Now we know from current cognitive science that the three components of meaning that people talk about, the things that contribute to meaning in life, and this is Hensselman's work and others, are a sense of coherence. I'll explain what this means in a minute, a sense of significance and a sense of purpose. I got to talk to Samantha Hensselman about this. The more coherent, the more intelligible, the more things fit together for you, the more real they are, the more meaningful you find your life. Well that's the normal logical order. How things fit together and make sense in a coherent fashion. What about significance? Significance is this, how valuable, how deep in reality, how good are the elements of your life. That's the normative order. Purpose. Does your life have a direction? Is it moving in a course? That's the narrative order. Human beings want things to make sense, they need a nobiological order, and Augustine says, "I have this. It's the Aristotelian world order, and I can give a Christian explanation of that." They want things to be significant. They want to satisfy the anagogic drives of inner peace and contact with reality. And Augustine says, "I can tell you that, because I can tell you how to put reason and agape together." That's what Christianity does. And people want things to have a purpose. They want there to be a story. Christianity is offering the ultimate story. Augustine puts it all together. And he puts it all together as the Roman Empire is literally collapsing. He's in Hippo in North Africa when the barbarians are literally at the gate laying siege to the city. And he's basically laying the foundations for what's going to come next. He's laying foundations for the medieval worldview. But what do we have from this?

The space of meaning (22:29)

What we have, and we'll come back to the cognitive science, what we have is a very long and powerful history that tells us how our culture has articulated the axial revolution, how it has given a grammar, a way of understanding what the axial revolution has given us. It's given us a system for interpreting and inhabiting a worldview in which meaning and wisdom, as understood by the axial revolution, have been developed and have been articulated in a sophisticated and compelling fashion. Meaning is to have a normal logical order that connects us to what is real. It is to have a normative order that connects us, not intellectually but existentially to what is good so that we can become better. Meaning is to have a narrative order that tells us how we can move forward through history, both collective and individual history. But what I've tried to show you is that these are not three separate things, they're like the three dimensions of a space, the space of meaning, they're the three axes of the space of meaning. This is a beautiful synthesis. It's the culmination of tremendous amount of historical development. It's profound. And it's not just an intellectual thing, it is, as I've tried to show you, it is simultaneously a scientific thing, a spiritual thing, a therapeutic thing, an existential thing. This is why this is going to last a thousand years because it is such a powerful and enriching vision. Imagine if you could, what if I could offer this to you and make it deeply historically, scientifically and intellectually viable for you? What if I could offer to you a worldview that had the deepest scientific legitimacy totally integrated with the most profound spirituality, no antagonism, no irrationality in it? Could join seamlessly with a personal project of therapy, of therapeutic change and healing and sapiential education, the cultivation of genuine wisdom and self transcendence. In community with yourself, your world, your culture and other people, would you not want this? So here's the question now, I'll have to ask yourself, why don't you have it? Because we know from the science, that's what you want, we know from the history that that's what our culture has, like our foundational culture from the axial revolution, built for us, why don't we have it? Is it irredeemably lost? When we lost the Gnostic mythology, when we lost the axial mythology, the two worlds of mythology, when we lost the mythology of Christian, do we, are we now bereft forever? So, part of the way I can start to answer the short answer for a long series of arguments that are forthcoming is, no, I think there is a response. That's why this series is entitled Awakening from the Meaning Crisis, not despairing because of the Meaning Crisis.

Genealogy of the crisis (27:11)

But we're only halfway through, right? We're only halfway through posing the problem, we need to understand, we're getting an understanding of this meaning and this wisdom, we're getting how it was articulated and developed and woven into our cultural framework, our cognitive machinery, the very grammar of our existential modes. But we still don't know why does it all fall apart? How does it all come apart? And where does that leave us? We need a better understanding of the genealogy now of the crisis, now that we have a better historical understanding of the nature of the meaning that was lost, we need to understand, we need to understand the process of loss. So, as I said, this world is the world that Augustine bestows, and this is what you need to understand, there's tremendous loss when the Roman Empire collapses. It's not as great as the Bronze Age collapse, but it's major, but it's only in the West, by the way, not in the East. The Byzantine Empire survives. But nevertheless, there's a traumatic loss, traumatic, traumatic loss of cities, literacy, trade, commerce. The standard of living that was lost in the Roman Empire is not recovered again until 1750 in London, England. It takes that long for that standard of living to be recovered again. So this is very traumatic.

Loss of suffixes (29:03)

But the heritage given by Augustine is so powerful that it serves as, and I'm using this word very carefully now, I hope you understand, it serves as a home for people throughout all of this turbulent turmoil. But some things start to happen that start to pull it apart. This sacred canopy starts to be torn apart and can no longer shelter us from our terrors and our despair. So one of the first things is in 1054, there's a division. And I'm not going to go into all part of it has to do with the Roman Empire and the West collapses, but it doesn't collapse in the East. The East is Greek speaking, the West is Latin speaking, that in addition to Augustine, the East is deeply influenced by Dionysus, pseudo Dionysus, also the caves in the West. But there's a lot of cultural, historical, socioeconomic differences in how Christianity was understood. And they split apart, there's what's called the great schism. So Christianity splits between an Eastern Orthodox and what's going to be called a Catholic version of Christianity. This of course weakens Christianity. It also has an impact on it. By separating itself from the East, Christianity loses some of the connection, at least the Christianity in the West. Western Europe, Christianity loses some of its deeper connections to that Neoplatonic mystical theology. That starts to have an impact. The West starts to become less and less platonic and more and more Aristotelian. Now as always, this starts with a change in psychotechnology. So, I mean, Elic has done some work looking at the work of Hugh of St. Victor, who was around from 1096 to 1141. And what he points out, and Chatham talks about this in his book, in his books, and Chatham also refers as Corbin does to. Corbin talks about this, Chatham talks about this, refers to the work of Krantz and others. Trying to summarize a lot of this, what's happening is there's a shift in reading, how people read. Right? And it's after the schism. So, before that, and this is something I can speak to from first person, before that, reading is done largely allowed. People read aloud. They read the Bible, for example, because that's mostly the only thing that can be read.

Start collecting the meanings of one tree (32:36)

And some of the church fathers, people like Augustine, for example, they read aloud. Reading is often done communally. So, first of all, you're embedded in a cultural context. You're embedded in a sapiential community. You read aloud, and more than you read aloud, you're reciting. So, let's try and get something in your experience that might bring this out. Think of the difference between reading a poem and reciting a poem. And it's no coincidence, by the way, that when Gabriel spoke to Muhammad, he told him to recite, not to write. Okay? What happens when you, I was something wonderful. Last Saturday was my birthday, and so it was a surprise party. My partner, she organized a wonderful party for me. And I'd always said that instead of gifts, I would prefer it if people brought one of their favorite pieces of poetry and read it aloud. So it was a poetry party. And people read it aloud. And there's such a difference between reading a poem silently and reading it aloud, because the intonation and the sharing it with others makes it very different. What was particularly beautiful is my girlfriend, actually, she's a gifted singer. She actually sang her version of the poem by Robert Frost. It's a famous one about the two roads divergent, and I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. But when somebody is singing a song, singing a poem, and most songs or poems, if you think about it, it is appealing to you, not just propositionally. It's not just that kind of knowing. It's not just trying to create beliefs in you. First of all, by reciting the poem, and trying to communicate it to others, you have to bring in all you know-how of communication. Being able to share with other people. You have to lose all your ways of paying attention, much more embodied. There's a perspectival stuff. What does it feel like? What does it like to be here in this space, in this context with these people uttering these words? And with that, it has the potential to be participatory, because people like, these are poems that have changed them, have made a difference to their identity. They know these poems, not the way you know the words on the back of your cereal box. They know these poems because of the way in which they have been changed by them. There are very sense of identity has been altered by it. So when people were reading then, they're reading the Bible, they're reciting it, they're reciting it communally. They're also doing something, and I do this practice now, and other people do, right? It's called Lectio Divina. It's a way of reading a text, right? In which you are not speaking, the point is not to have the propositions and to speak. It is to let the text as much as possible speak to you. It is to engage with the text in a meditative, mindful fashion, opening yourselves up to the possibility of it transforming you. It is much more like going to listen to a piece of music and having prepared yourself, prepared the receptivity to have a profound aesthetic experience. It's analogous to that. You're reading and you're reciting in such a way that you're trying to open yourself up to this text speaking to you. People that are religious will often talk about this as if God is present in the text and speaking to them through the text. This is how people were reading. It's a form of reading that is ontologically remedial. It's designed to heal you, transform you. It's designed to trigger, activate, and educate your procedural, perspectival, and participatory knowing. Not just give you propositions.

Stories vs Language-What People Started Reading (37:09)

It's about helping you in your reading remember the being mode and not just have beliefs and propositions. But people start to read differently shortly thereafter. What's happening is people are shifting from... So, Avocina, which is an anglicized form of Ibn Sin, who's a great Persian philosopher. He was up until this time the dominant interpreter of that Augustinian worldview, that whole Augustinian way. And he gives priority to the Neoplatonic. And Corbin is going to make a lot of the fact that Persian philosophy was always trying to keep the Neoplatonic and Gnostic elements of spirituality alive. Persia has played a much greater role in world history and cultural history than we have properly given credit to in the so-called West. But he gets replaced by Avaros. And Avaros is more purely Aristotelian. And what that really means is a shift, a shift to giving exclusive priority to definitions. Remember, Aristotle tried to understand essences, the I-DOS, as essences and essences as definitions. And that's very problematic as many things don't have definitions, but definitions and propositions. So people now start to read silently to themselves. And what they give priority to is coherence within a language rather than transformation within themselves in the world. So what matters is how the various symbols, and I don't mean that in a spiritual sense, the various propositional terms and logical connectives fit together coherently. So a new model for thought emerges. See, the old model was thought is a conforming to the world. And then we got this articulated and developed and expanded into this whole process of Gnosis and Anagage and self-transformation. That model of knowing that's also a way of being, that's also a way of becoming, that's being taken away, and it's being replaced by a different model. Thought, knowing is to have coherent propositional language. Thinking is to have a coherent set of propositions in your head. So Kranz talks about, we shift from the extents of self, the self that is transjectively connected to the world, that understands itself in terms of its conformity to the world, to write an intensive self. This is a self that's inside my head, it's inside my beliefs. Myself is primarily the way I talk to myself by affirming my beliefs through propositional language. So people start to think that the primary way in which we know things is to get as much coherence within our inner language than instead of conformity in our outer existential modes.

Finding Balance Between Valid Logical, Coherent Info and Ancient Spiritualized Scripture. (41:35)

Now why would people make this shift? People make this shift because the world is starting to open up again. People are starting to get interested in knowing the world scientifically. And it's just slowly beginning here. But we're going to get the move towards the value of having, and by the way, I believe in this value. I'm a scientist. The value of logically coherent, well organized, propositional theories, the power of this is being discovered. So when I can read in this other way, I can empower my argumentative skills tremendously. What I'm losing is I'm losing reading as a psychotechnology of psychospiritual existential transformation. Reading is now becoming the consumption of propositions and they're structuring in logical coherency. Why? Well as I said, there's the beginning of this reorientation towards the external world. And it's being driven by the fact that Aristotle is coming into prominence because he's being rediscovered. So because of the crusades, there is a rediscovery of the works of Aristotle that had largely been lost to Western Europe. And in Aristotle, there is a problem for Christianity. There's a problem for Christianity. The problem is we have a figure that can't be ignored. Aristotle is part of that whole ancient world that Augustine gave us. He's the author of the nomological order that Augustine has baptized with Christianity's approval. So Aristotle can't be ignored, but Aristotle describes a world that does not have a lot of the Christian mythology attached to it. And offers explanations for things that Christianity makes no effort to explain. So there is a tremendous attraction to the power, the new explanatory power provided by Aristotle. And the model he gives of getting clear definitions and clear syllogistic inferences and building up a very clear picture is enmeshed with this new way of reading. And this new way of experiencing knowing and experiencing oneself primarily inside one's head, inside one's language. So Aristotle can't be ignored or rejected because of his eminent authority. But neither can he simply be assimilated into the Christian worldview because he talks about and explains things and does things in a manner that you don't find in the Bible. So more and more people are reading in this new way, they're starting to emulate the new Aristotelian science, but this is starting to cause a crisis within Christianity. And so there's an individual who arises who sees the looming threat that this poses, who sees two things happening. There's a change in the psychotechnology of reading and there is a change in how people are starting to look at the world. Both of these changes are associated with the difficulty of assimilating the rediscovered Aristotle into a Christian worldview. Thomas Aquinas takes up the task of solving this problem. He's going to be a pivotal figure precisely for that reason.

Evolution Of Worldviews And Understanding The Natural World

Worldview Demises (46:46)

Now again, Thomas Aquinas volume his writing and there's a whole group of people, both theologians and philosophers, and there's all kinds of controversy around how Aristotelian Aquinas is, how platonic he is. I'm going to try and present the way I think he was historically taken up and basically understood. So Aquinas, how do we salvage both the Christian worldview and the new science of the rediscovered Aristotle? Well, he does something really brilliant. He goes to the fundamental grammar of all of this. What's the fundamental grammar of this? It's the mythology of the two worlds. The axial revolution is there's two worlds. There's the real world and the illusory world. And that has been a constant throughout all of this. And he comes up with a way of trying to assimilate it. So we have the two worlds. Here's the in Plato in the platonic and even in the Augustinian. Here's the everyday world, right? And then here is the real world. But what Aquinas does is he changes that.

Reason comes to understand the natural world (48:25)

He says this world is real too. There is real knowledge of this world possible. This is knowledge that we can get through reason and science. So reason and science study this world, this world. And they can discover real truths about that. Through reason, through science. But this world up here is still somehow more real. How do we do that? Well, he invents a distinction that we tend to inachronistically push back on people before. And there are definitely precursors in pseudodinesis and Augustine. But the idea is this is the natural world that can be studied by reason and by science. This is the world above the natural world. What's the word for above? Super. So this is the supernatural world. And this is not a world that can be studied by science or reason.

Faith changes (49:46)

This is a world that is only accessible by faith. So there's now the two worlds have been made sort of fundamentally to separate kinds of worlds. And there isn't a continuum between them now. There isn't a way of moving through them by love and reason united together. What now happens is the following. And what's going to happen is the notion of faith is going to be changed too. Reason is down here and love is up here. And the idea for Aquinas, I should say, is that love moves the will. See, in Plotinus and even in Augustine, love moves reason. But for Aquinas, love moves the will. Love moves the will to assert things that it can't know through reason. So love now becomes, sort of faith now becomes the act of willful assertion. Now, to be fair to Aquinas, this is not willful in the sense of my will. This is a will that is being driven by the love of God. But nevertheless, what's now happening is love and reason are being pulled apart. Faith is going from this participation in the flow, the course of history, to the assertion of propositions, the assertion of statements, giving a creed, and more fundamentally, science and spirituality are now being divorced from each other in a profound way.

Historical Interpretations

Divined by history (51:30)

Such that if it's scientific, it's not spiritual, and if it's spiritual, it's not scientific. And you can see the beginnings of romanticism. If it has to do with love, then it has nothing to do with reason. And if it has anything to do with reason, then it has nothing to do with love. And all of these things are now being pulled apart. Now, he is, I mean, Aquinas is a wonderful man, a wonderful writer. He is trying to save the actual worldview by reformulating its fundamental grammar of two worlds into a formulation that is now becoming familiar to you. But here's the danger, and this is not a danger that Aquinas foresees. As this becomes more and more successful, and we less and less find our assertions, our will being driven by love, but just by willpower alone, this world becomes less and less real to us, the supernatural world. And if there is no sub-supernatural world, if it's no longer, and listen to my language, if it's no longer viable to us, we can think about it and imagine it, but if it's no longer livable to us, then the whole axial world mythology, the whole axial world grammar, that grammar that gave us, the grammar of meaning and wisdom and self-transcendence, that huge heritage is now threatened to fall apart. We'll start looking at that next time together. Thank you for your time and attention.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Wisdom In a Nutshell.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.