Sunday, March 15, 2015

Aquinas Anyone?

The writings of St. Thomas Aquinas have a lot in common with those of modern scientists.

Both were concerned to diagram, to connect, to define, every aspect of experience, with a kind of imperialistic ambition. The result for both sets of writings is that of a load of cartons piled up. Moving house, or embarking on a voyage.

Except that Aquinas left room to move, in the world he diagrammed. His flow chart allowed for flow. Or let's say the cartons have holes in them, like for a pet carrier. 

His modern counterparts cannot move because they cannot step back and get a sense of what has been accomplished. Their world is defined by exclusionary principles with no basis in science, and so their procrustean sleeping bag in fact is more binding than restful. 

Aquinas's concern to include Aristotle, which is a kind of intellectual binding, is actually liberating because it inspires growth, original thinking. The comparable rule binding modern scientists, variations of the principle of verification, results in excisions of reality that in fact, are blinding. 

There is room in the world Aquinas sketches, for questions about the content of the cardboard itself.  Modern science, insisting they can answer that kind of question, wind up with babbling on subjects like free will, or nothingness. Their rejection of metaphysics is at the cost of espousing a metafizzle.

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