The nature of human consciousness Now is that truth must be chosen.
This means that there is Truth (i.e. God, divine creation and its values) but that this cannot (any longer - although in some times and places it could) passively be absorbed by affiliation to any external institution, nation, or church authority - but must actively (with free agency) be chosen by each individual.
What is actually happening (apparently, for most people) is that a single free choice is being made to believe whatever concepts the international bureaucracy-mass media are propagating today.
Since each day's official-media story propagates first today's concept, then today's facts - and the decision has been made to believe whatever these are; there is no basis for any individual whose loyalties are to The System ever to discover incoherence or lies. Yesterday's concepts and facts are irrelevant - except when today's is saying they are not.
Thus belief is continually changing to track 'today's story'.
The only way out is to consider the fundamental assumptions that underpin 'today's story' - which entails recognizing that there is a mind behind The System.
(And, of course, it is a part of The System to deny this, and to assert that everything that happens is a consequence of non-purposive causes.)
Having assumes a mind behind The System; the individual must make a value-evaluation as to whether that System-motivation is Good or evil; on the side of God, or against (recognizing that it must, overall, be one or the other).
(And, of course, it is a part of The System that there is no God, and that reality is not a creation - but instead that ultimately all is accidental, purposeless and meaningless.)
I've just had a thought about the human soul. It might seem, or be, basic, I'm sure it's not original; but I think it's under-acknowledged these days. It's this: that the soul has what I would call a 'transcendental receptor'; sort of like how a biological cell has a membrane which allows it to communicate with its environment and receive more biochemical information, so our soul has a receptive medium or power which allows it to communicate with and receive information (truth) from transcendent being. This might seem obvious but it's a truth profoundly neglected (or denied) by modern philosophy. Hume and, even more famously, Kant, cut off the human soul from transcendent being and said that the soul only knows itself, its own thought, its own sense impressions, its 'phenomena'; whereas the transcendent, the 'noumenon', the 'thing-in-itself' out there beyond the mind: is eternally unknowable. Kant formulated a kind of transcendence (transcendental ideas), but this transcendence was only bound to the inner structure of the mind and so it was really just another form of immanentism. This agnosticism about any form of transcendence, this bondage to our immanent thoughts and feelings, which causes us to think of the "outside world" as unknowable, and that the picture we have of reality is just a "mental projection", not only cuts us off from the world of reality, but of course from God Himself who is the Perfect and Ultimate Transcendence.
This thought that our soul has a transcendental receptor came to me when I was thinking about "grace & free-will", an old debate in Christian theology that has been troubling and perplexing me for ages. The thrust of the debate is that the scriptures insist we are saved by God's grace and not by our own self-willed actions; but the obvious perplexity here is then, in that case, what am I to do to receive God's grace and grow closer to Him: am I just to keep myself inert like a rock and wait for His grace to move me in the right direction (this has been called the heresy of "quietism")? I think the idea of a transcendental receptor helps clarify this. We receive God's grace through the transcendental receptor of the soul. The task of spirituality is to keep one's transcendental receptor as constantly open as possible to God's grace, which means casting the (transcendental) light of one's soul upon goodness, truth, and beauty, and on divine revelation, and not putting any blockage there (sin). A theological opponent might say that this is still self-salvation, because it's we who are keeping the transcendental receptor open, and not God's grace; but there I add this principle: God always gives the soul sufficient grace to keep open its transcendental receptor and to receive further grace thereby (to grow in sanctity); so when I do keep mine open, it's not by my own human strength, but by the power of God's grace I have already received, already immanent in my soul; hence Paul says to Timothy: "I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee."
My thought here is that the idea of a transcendental receptor as such did not occur to the classical and medieval theologians, because it was so obvious to them. Or rather, the idea did occur to them, but it was such an obvious thing that they didn't feel the need to formulate it specifically. The problem we have today is that we are so mired in post-Humean and Post-Kantian immanentism, in general agnosticism, that we've lost the sense of any transcendental receptor of the soul, and are bound down to the Promethean rock of our private sensations and thoughts. How can we accept the truth if the truth is a transcendental and the transcendent is unknowable? We only know our own thoughts and feelings, which means the best we have to offer is a maturely considered opinion. "Truth" in social terms comes to mean those with the right opinions, formed by those who have the power to determine right opinion.
Comment from Joseph A:
Jack, I believe that the traditional term for what you describe is a "pure heart."
To Dr. BC: your latest batch of posts deal with our latest inundation with lies. I find it hard to believe that people who know about past (and recent!) establishment lies are so quick to accept the latest ones. I've had a number of arguments with close relatives .... These are people who know that the media and governments lie and seek wicked ends. Yet, they're ready to believe them now (in this instance).
It may simply be that different people have different vulnerabilities to manipulation. The Birdemic mess plays on fear. The current propaganda plays on thumos. The devils have large sets of keys for unlocking different doors to our soul.
You are on to something. And the traditional liturgy includes this exhortation to keep our transcendental receptors open, just before the Canon of the Mass:
Sursum Corda (Lift up your hearts);
Habemus ad Dominum (We lift them up to the Lord).
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