This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

The weakness of Thomism and Western epistemology in general

The primary weakness of Thomism is that it does not understand the Intelligence as a ‘naturally supernatural’ power. For the Thomist there is knowledge obtained by natural reason, which must stop short of metaphysical or spiritual certitudes, and knowledge obtained by grace, which is granted by God incidentally and is not in this sense inherent in man’s intelligence. In this sense, St. Thomas is very nearly a rationalist, albeit one who pairs his rationalism with fideism and comes to a kind of synthesis between the two. It would be better to avoid the dualism altogether and grant to man’s intelligence the capacity to know the Absolute in which it participates. To put it another way, the problem with fideism, rationalism, and St. Thomas, who represents a synthesis of the two, is that they both split what is proper to the intelligence into two separate orders: natural and supernatural. This imposes a false dichotomy on the intelligence and splits and disfigures it. The intelligence is the point of transition between the natural and the supernatural and participates in both and so it cannot be divided neatly without denying something essential in it and reducing it to two partial truths which do not add up to a whole. That is why it is best to consider the intelligence in the Hindu or Islamic light as something inseparable from the Absolute which is its origin and in which man participates. That intellectual intuition occurs is acknowledged even by contemporary Christians, but they explain it in the same way as St. Thomas and call it ‘inspiration’ and see it as a kind of special phenomenon with only temporary effect. This allows for the reality of intellectual intuition but ‘disguises it’ by rendering it incidental and thus no threat to the axiom that the intellect cannot grasp the Absolute.

We can solve the Thomistic ratio-fideist dichotomy by saying that the Intellect is a kind of indwelling Revelation, hence ‘naturally supernatural’, and so to place it in opposition to Scripture, which is a kind of ‘collective Revelation,’ is to misunderstand what is at work in both cases and makes revelation of any kind possible.

The intellect is a kind of ‘divine immanence.’ If man has a part of him that attains to immortality, it is the intellect. If man can know the Truth only through ‘inspiration’ and ‘a gift of grace,’ then these are things which he was given as part of his supernatural nature and not as superadded and passing phenomena. In short, man is the meeting of God and nature and is his own kind of hypostatic union. If we are asked to become like Christ as members of his body, this could only be possible if our nature permitted it. That Christians are ‘regenerated’ via baptism does not bring about a change in the nature of man. The language itself implies that something that was already there is ‘re-animated’.

Share This