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So today we will speak about structures.
As we wrote a couple of days back (see here), STRUCTURES are very important. Below is a fragment from a discussion between Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and Stanley McChrystal, a former US Army general.
To place this fragment into CONTEXT is to note that the retired General has “leftist leanings” which were exhibited in the Rolling Stones article that was the root cause of the earlier alluded to dismissal. Now we find out that he most likely obtained his “political leanings” from his mother who was a leftist. So having a “left leaning” individual, like General McChrystal speaking about the NECCESITY of STRUCTURES definitely is NEWS in and of itself.
Given the above CONTEXT, here is the Dr. Peterson part of the exchange.
Ok, so that’s… that’s real interesting to me because one of the things I learned when I was reading Friedrich Nietzsche in particular, he was a great critic of Christianity but also a great admirer of the Catholic Church.
And one of the things he said about Catholicism was that over the centuries of its unfolding, that it required all of its practitioners to adopt a particular disciplined ethos and to explain the world within the confines of a single coherent system, and then also to act that out.
And so Nietzsche was also interested in the development of, let’s call it “full individuality”. But he also knew that the pathway to individuality was through the rigors of a disciplinary structure.
Therefore, from the above passage, what is of importance to understand is that the Catholic Church had in place “over the centuries of its unfolding” a STRUCTURE in place which was based on “a particular disciplined ethos”, which allowed to “explain the world within the confines of a single coherent system” and then mandated that those practitioners “act that out”.
Now for those new to this blog, that “disciplined” and “coherent” STRUCTURE which these distinguished gentlemen were referring to is what is known as THOMISM.
And just to remind all the new readers, THOMISM (see here) has been out of favor with the Modernists since… at least the times of Pope St. Pius X. In a seminal essay by Dr. John Lamont, the short explanation of the post-conciliar church’s problem with THOMISM is laid out as follows:
Another article of the postconciliar creed has to do with the character of the Thomism that was promoted by popes from Leo XIII to Pius XII. The substantive accusations made against this Thomism are that it unjustifiably limited theology to a particular philosophical system, that theology was forced to conform to it, and that it was not the true thought of St. Thomas. These claims play a subordinate role in the criticism of preconciliar Thomism, whose main thrust lies in accusations that Thomism was ‘abstract’, ‘rationalist’, ‘ahistorical’, ‘arid’, ‘frozen’, ‘immobile’, ‘obsessed’, ‘encouraging pure secularity’, ‘sclerotically hardened and furred theologically, spiritually and ecclesially’, ‘causing a rupture between theology and life’, a ‘wax mask’, a ‘straightjacket’ that ‘reduced theological speculation to sterility’. The essence of this villainous form of Thomism is supposed to be given by the 24 Thomistic theses developed by leading scholars and endorsed by the Sacred Congregation of Studies in 1914, as containing the principles and main pronouncements of St. Thomas’s philosophy.3
But in reality, the OBJECTIVE kind, this was in fact the case:
The substantive accusations against Thomism are easily dismissed. The allegation that Thomism was imposed on preconciliar theology is without foundation, as can easily be seen by looking at the official texts that deal with it. All these texts are concerned with the teaching of philosophy and theology in educational institutions. Leo XIII and subsequent popes had decided that it was essential that the clergy be given a sound philosophical formation, and that the best philosophy for them to be formed in was Thomism. In order to achieve that end, they ruled that philosophical formation in seminaries and Catholic universities should be Thomistic in nature. This made it necessary to give some definition of what Thomism consisted in, and the 24 Thomistic theses were promulgated to meet this need.
Without belaboring this point, but to finish Lamont’s summary, here is how the suppression of THOMISM worked out for the post-conciliar church:
The key to the neomodernist capture of power is however also the reason for their failure to sustain a religious culture. Neomodernism is not like Protestantism, which contains ideas with a positive content as well as being a rejection of Catholicism. These ideas – justification by faith, and the like – are not correct, but they say something substantial, and have an appeal that can give rise to an important movement. Neomodernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.
And here is why post-Modernism is disintegrating and why it is only a question of time until it die away:
This is one thing that on the natural level permitted the survival of Thomism, despite the drastic measures taken to uproot it from the Church; unlike neomodernism, it has something positive and substantial to say. Moreover, what it has to say is actually true. This is in no way a guarantee of broad success, but it ensures the continued existence of Thomism in the small constituency of good scholars who are concerned with the truth and in a position to discover it. Whether it will expand much beyond this constituency in the future is unknown, but there is no doubt that its future shows more promise than that of neomodernism.
So where does this above information leave us?
Well, it would appear that in fact, “NATURAL PHILOSOPHICAL STRUCTURES”, like Thomism are making a big comeback. In the video above, Dr. Steven Turley identifies just this aspect as the basis for the OBSERVATION that young Polish voters are voting for conservative parties.
Dr. Turley also notices that this same PHENOMENON is the basis behind the return of the Traditional Latin Mass among young Catholics.
And just to finish off this post, here is a passage from the Wikipedia entry as to the future prospects of Natural Philosophy:
Especially since the mid-20th-century European crisis, some thinkers argued the importance of looking at nature from a broad philosophical perspective, rather than what they considered a narrowly positivist approach relying implicitly on a hidden, unexamined philosophy. One line of thought grows from the Aristotelian tradition, especially as developed by Thomas Aquinas.
Concluding, what we Faithful Catholics are witnessing is nothing short of a Restoration of Catholicism that is not just liturgical in nature, but theological in nature as well. This Restoration is also not just limited to the ecclesiastical sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium, et Invisibilium.
One can say that what we are in fact witnessing is the disintegration of the “Enlightenment fallacy” that that which is not proved by the scientific method, does not exist.
What we as a civilization are beginning to understand at present is that the scientific method is only a tool to understand the greater REALITY. This REALITY in turn is OBJECTIVE in nature, therefore can be studied with OBJECTIVE tools, one of which is the scientific method.
Yet the scientific method does not constitute an end in itself. It can only be considered to be a means to an end. And a limited means at that. What the scientific method CANNOT do is provide VALUES nor MEANING nor even a comprehensive STRUCUTRE to understand the greater OBJECTIVE REALITY of human existence.
For that, philosophy is needed. And the reason philosophy is needed is that it provides STRUCTURES in which individual’s live and in which they function. These STRUCTURES are needed above all in the theological domain, if what we believe is to be COHERENT, i.e. taken seriously. And it is a return to STRUCTURES that Western Civilization and above all, the post-conciliar church desperately need in order to stop the disintegration that we are observing at the moment.
What one can in fact conclude from the above material is that for the post-conciliar church and Western Civilization in which it subsists, Thomism with its embedded STRUCTURES, is just what the doctor ordered.