Sunday, July 31, 2016

Truth and Clarity Depends on Refinement and Order

When a person has what the poet's wisdom commends as a 'shaggy heart,' or when the block is muddy or made of impure wax, or oversoft or hard, the people with soft wax are quick to learn, but forgetful, those with hard wax the reverse. Where it is shaggy or rough, a gritty kind of stuff containing a lot of earth or dirt, the impressions obtained are indistinct; so are they too when the stuff is hard, for they have no depth. Impressions in soft wax also are indistinct, because they melt together and soon become blurred. And if, besides this, they overlap through being crowded together into some wretched little narrow mind, they are still more indistinct. All these types, then, are likely to judge falsely. When they see or hear or think of something, they cannot quickly assign thing to their several imprints. Because they are so slow and sort things into the wrong places, they constantly see and hear and thing amiss, and we say they are mistaken about things and are stupid.
ὅταν τοίνυν λάσιόν του τὸ κέαρ ᾖ, ὃ δὴ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ πάσσοφος ποιητής, ἢ ὅτανκοπρῶδες καὶ μὴ καθαροῦ τοῦ κηροῦ, ἢ ὑγρὸν σφόδρα ἢ σκληρόν, ὧν μὲνὑγρὸν εὐμαθεῖς μέν, ἐπιλήσμονες δὲ γίγνονται, ὧν δὲ σκληρόν, τἀναντία. οἱδὲ δὴ λάσιον καὶ τραχὺ λιθῶδές τι ἢ γῆς ἢ κόπρου συμμιγείσης ἔμπλεωνἔχοντες ἀσαφῆ τὰ ἐκμαγεῖα ἴσχουσιν. ἀσαφῆ δὲ καὶ οἱ τὰ σκληρά: βάθος γὰροὐκ ἔνι. ἀσαφῆ δὲ καὶ οἱ τὰ ὑγρά: ὑπὸ γὰρ τοῦ συγχεῖσθαι ταχὺ γίγνεται ἀμυδρά. ἐὰνδὲ πρὸς πᾶσι τούτοις ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλων συμπεπτωκότα ᾖ ὑπὸ στενοχωρίας, ἐάντου σμικρὸν ᾖ τὸ ψυχάριον, ἔτι ἀσαφέστερα ἐκείνων. πάντες οὖν οὗτοιγίγνονται οἷοι δοξάζειν ψευδῆ. ὅταν γάρ τι ὁρῶσιν ἢ ἀκούωσιν ἢ ἐπινοῶσιν,ἕκαστα ἀπονέμειν ταχὺ ἑκάστοις οὐ δυνάμενοι βραδεῖς τέ εἰσι καὶἀλλοτριονομοῦντες παρορῶσί τε καὶ παρακούουσι καὶ παρανοοῦσι πλεῖστα,καὶ καλοῦνται αὖ οὗτοι ἐψευσμένοι τε δὴ τῶν ὄντων καὶ ἀμαθεῖς.

...[T]he real reformer is not the man who sees that a reform is needed; nor is he the man who, in season and out of season, preaches the necessity of that reform; the true reformer is the man who achieves it.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was wonderfully equipped to solve [the] problem [of the proper place and relationship of faith and reason], because it was a problem of order. Now anyone who is at all familiar with his work knows full well that he simply could not help putting everything in its proper place. Each thing in its own place, a place for each thing. Now, in everyday life, the problem of putting a thing in its proper place is a comparatively simple one. It seldom amounts to more that putting it always in the same place and remembering where it is. Not so in philosophy, where there is but one conceivable proper place for any given thing. Unless you find it, that thing is lost, not in the usual sense that it is not to be found where you expected it to be, but in the much more radical sense that it is no longer to be found anywhere. Out of its proper place, the thing simply cannot exist at all. For indeed, the place of each thing is determined there by its own essence, and unless you know first what the thing is you shall never be able to define its relations to what it is not.
Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages, Etienne Gilson, New York: Scribner, 1938.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...