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A question is posed, what is: 2 +2 = ?; feelings/emotions/sentiments are incapable – irrespective of how intense, how sincere, how empathetic, how sympathetic etc. – of answering such a question! The question is an objective question;  it presupposes an objective – intelligently measured (measured both in quantifiable and in quality) – order, and its answer – “4” – is objective…

Saint Thomas Aquinas claims: “Truth is conformity between mind and object;” Aquinas goes on to explain that the object is not in doubt, but the intellect’s grasp of the object – as it is, for sundry reasons – can be dubious… We look at such reasons for doubting the intellect’s apprehension of what is, as it is…

Truth is: ‘a relation between mind (consciousness) and objects of intellection; that relation may be objective, or it may be subjective. If the relation is objective – and if the consciousness grasps the object of intellection, as it is, then the relation is a true relation.  If not, if the relation is objective, but erroneous either: 1.) The knowing subject (human) – lacking sufficient experience – misjudges what the senses present to the knower e.g., observing the bending of a pole immersed in water (an optical illusion or 2.) the mind (consciousness) interposes a subjective conception (a characterization conscious, or otherwise) between the mind, and the object, then the relation is not a truth relation, but an apprehension of error (distorted by that which the subjective consciousness has prescribed to the object; e.g., misjudging that a human is a human, because of the accident of pigment; blacks, native Americans and Chinese were just some humans which were denied their due because of pigment, and practice…)… By interposing – prescribing – certain conditions upon the object, conditions which attend to – and animate – the knowing agent (i.e., the human actor in the apprehension of the object of intellection), as biases, the knowing agent distorts, or perverts, the object whereby it is apprehended (perceived) not as it is, but as the consciousness “colors” (i.e., distorts) it to be… Saint Thomas would argue, that humility* (i.e., an incessant willed desire to introspectively bracket – or efface – sentimental impetuses, so as to “see,” i.e., so as to be just in one’s judgments) is the necessary condition of knowing the truth… Jesus Christ gives this very guidance in John 7: 24 “Stop judging by appearance, but judge justly.”

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* So often humility is wrongly thought (“felt” is more apropos, a thinker would detect the problem with such an understanding…) to be ‘deference to others,’ or ‘thinking oneself less important than others’.  Thomas A Kempis (Imitation of Christ) popularized such nonsense; humility is the incessant willed deference to the truth; the humble individual will be conscious of his/her biases whether antipathies or affinities…

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If the relation is subjective, then what judgments are manifest from the experience are also subjective i.e., they may be “true,” but only subjectively true; which means they agree – conform – with either the individual appetites or the individual’s consciousness e.g., an individual’s judgment which may be expressing his/her tastes regarding their favorite pizza toppings, favorite color, music, etc… Such judgments are necessarily valid, and true because they express only taste – apart from any moral necessity, which objective reality may impose. Now if such an individual – possessed by such consciousness – thinks him/herself right (correct) regarding an objective claim (e.g., the moral right, or wrong, of a particular act e.g., abortion), but they are objectively wrong (because objective reality is attended by an objective morality), and if they cannot, via rational argument, be dissuaded from their error, it is because they are not amenable to reason! Such an individual is the definition of an egoist, and – vis-à-vis truth relations – as one unchanged, and unchangeable, by rational argument is – dispositionally – like a beast in the field. One can say of such individuals carry a “mark-of-the-beast” because – we reiterate – like beasts, they are unchanged, and unchangeable, by rational argument… Now although one is tempted to assign all such dispositions to the social-political Left, an objective look at society will reveal that egoism is not the sole property of social-politically Leftists; as it is an egoist may be appetitionally social-political Right, as well as Left; however, the preponderance of egoists are of the social-political Left, because all ideologies are of the social-political Left, and each ideology tacitly, if not explicitly, denies objective reality. Objective reality –  and its attendant morality (which includes human society) – represents the potential remedy for the inveterate human tendency towards egoism (the condition whereby all of reality is subordinated to the soul’s inveterate impetus for self-aggrandizement).

We re-state then, that truth is a relation in which facts, objects, and ideas – which have their being (existence) independently of one’s mind – and wherein one’s mind is in a state of dependence upon those facts, objects and/or ideas for the apprehension of the existent, and existence, it is… Aquinas thus, presents the formula: “truth is conformity of mind and object” wherein the mind abstracts its content from the object; the mind’s content will accurately reflect reality – if the human soul is humbly** disposed of/ordered, if not the tendencies of the soul will commensurately distort reality.

** Saint Thomas would argue, that humility** (i.e., an incessant willed desire to introspectively bracket – or efface – sentimental impetuses, so as to “see,” i.e., so as to be just in one’s judgments) is the necessary condition of knowing the truth… Jesus Christ gives this very guidance in John 7: 24 “Stop judging by appearance, but judge justly.”

Now as we began this essay we indicated that feelings/emotions/sentiments are not capable of ascertaining what is true, but feelings/emotions/sentiments – we acknowledge – are part of what constitutes the human soul’s disposition (i.e., the particular psychological make-up of the individual), and this is so of every human being; the question is: “Are the feelings/emotions/sentiments circumscribed rationally (i.e., limited in deference to objective reality, and its attendant objective morality), or do the feelings/emotions/sentiments circumscribe “truth”?” If the former, the individual is rationally (i.e., morally) disposed of/ordered; if the latter the individual is irrational and an egoist. We note that rationality (humility) and irrationality (egoism) represent the two extremes of a moral continuum, and that, that continuum is occupied by two paragons, viz: Jesus Christ the exemplar of reason/rationality and Lucifer the prototypical extremity of egoism/irrationality…

And so we close here by reiterating that knowing the truth requires an incessantly willed – self-effacing – acquiescence to objective reality, and noting that although all humans are possessed with sentiments, those possessed by their sentiments are slaves to them as well, and to the degree that they beholden to such passions is the degree by which they distort, and render themselves Truth’s enemy…

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

TJDonegan7

 

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