A Borrowed, Obvious, Fertile, Essential,

A Borrowed, Obvious, Fertile, Essential, and Timeless Point

The bridge between what is best in modern and classical political philosophy is that a “right” is simply an aspect of “justice” or “what is just”.


Two Thoughts On The Exaggeration

Two Thoughts On The Exaggeration of Carnal Pleasures

The intensity of physical pleasures often gets exaggerated for two reasons: a.) every pleasure drives out pain, and b.) we usually have a certain control over physical pleasures. Cigarettes, food, booze, sex, pills etc. are always there for us. We can pick them up and know they will come through. Other pleasures- like the pleasures of a clear conscience, or of discovery of something, or of figuring out a difficult problem, or of just having something big go your way, will also drive out pain, but we have less control over these things. It seems to me that what is most formal to our love of carnal pleasures is the degree of control that we have over them. Even though the carnal thrills are generally admitted to be less enjoyable (and I think most people would grant that they experience greater joy from the latter things than the former things) we can love them more for simply being so dependable. In the everyday grind of daily disappointments, anxieties, hatreds etc. the pleasures of booze, food, orgasms, or a pack of smokes are all things we can have easily and often. But who knows the next time we will write a perfectly telling jewel of an essay or story, or get promoted, or find a sweet new job, or discover something new and beautiful for ourselves?

A further reason that carnal thrills can seem better than the other pleasures is that the carnal thrills can be rewards in the way tha the other pleasures cannot. Even if we were able to take away pains by the other pleasures, we would generally find a way to also reward ourselves with the carnal thrills.


Doctriane Bellapercheis? (my take on

Doctriane Bellapercheis?

(my take on the thoughts of an unknown author)

We can give different accounts of the same thing, and when we do, we get different accounts of what is good for it. What makes a quarterback, a father, a citizen, or a creature of God good is not the same thing, even though one man might be all those things.

In all the above goods, there is also the distinction between the good that the man has as a part of something, and as the individual that happens to be a part. One cannot exist as a quarterback except as a member of a team, or as a father except as a part of a family, or as a citizen apart from the regime, or as a creature apart from the universe.

Whenever the account that we give of a thing makes it a part, then the good of the thing obviously cannot exist except as a part, and therefore there is a sort of primacy of the whole that constitutes the thing. Every part, as such, has its whole existence ordered to the being of the whole, even if the being that the thing has as a part does not exhaust the being that a thing has as thing (i.e. there is more to being Joe Montana than being a part of a team, more to being St. Joseph than being a father, etc…)

We tend to miss the quality that we have as parts of a larger whole, a whole that confers goods on us fundamentally and ultimately as parts of a whole. We pervert goods when we see the good of the whole as existing for the sake of a part.


Parts of St. Thomas’ Discussion

Parts of St. Thomas’ Discussion About Whether There Is a Trinity of Persons in God, part one.

As Dionysus says, the good is communicative of itself. But God is the highest good, therefore he will be communicative in the highest possible way. But he does not communicate himself in the highest possible way to creatures, because they cannot receive his whole goodness. That the communication might be perfect, therefore, it is necessary that God communicate his whole goodness to another. This cannot happen through diversity of essence, therefore it is necessary that there be many distinctions in the unity of the divine essence.

On the Sentences

Book 1, Q.2, art. IV.

This argument, though compelling, is not the response to the question of whether there is a distinction of persons in God- which is much shorter:

There are in God a plurality of supposits or persons in a unity of essence. This must be conceded without any ambiguity- not because of any reasons set forth (which do not conclude with necessity), but because of the truth of the faith.

And so we believe in the Trinity when we have in some sense no reason to do so. So what do we make of the sed contra then, which seems to give three separate reasons for the why the there should be a some kind of plurality of persons in the divine essence? The arguments seem relatively straightforward:

1.) God cannot have “diversity of essence” (insert your favorite argument for the unity of God here- it is one of the most thoroughly established theological claims.)

2.) God is the highest good (again, almost axiomatic, and relatively easy to prove)

3.) Good is communicative of itself (this is probably the hardest proposition of the bunch to prove, but is still pretty much a Plato/ St. Thomas 101 proof. Good grief, the idea is in Plato’s Cave metaphor: Sun= good.)

4.) Creatures cannot receive all of God’s goodness, and so God can only partially communicate his goodness to them (and so if a higher kind of expressed goodness were possible, then God would have it. All one has to do then is show that some plurality of persons is possible in the divine essence. This is difficult, but within reach.)

And nevertheless, St. Thomas leaves no ambiguity about where he stands on the question of giving proofs for the Trinity:

Whoever, then, tries to prove the trinity of persons by natural reason, derogates from faith in two ways.

Firstly, as regards the dignity of faith itself, which consists in its being concerned with invisible things, that exceed human reason; wherefore the Apostle says that “faith is of things that appear not” (Heb. 11:1), and the same Apostle says also, “We speak wisdom among the perfect, but not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world; but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery which is hidden” (1 Cor. 2:6,7).

Secondly, as regards the utility of drawing others to the faith. For when anyone in the endeavor to prove the faith brings forward reasons which are not cogent, he falls under the ridicule of the unbelievers: since they suppose that we stand upon such reasons, and that we believe on such grounds.