Ideas Have Consequences

[this post continues the message started in With all thy getting, get understanding…]



The IT Security Group Hackformers inspired me to revisit my notes from their outstanding event of 15 March 2013, as we open this new year of 2014.

The Spanish writer Ortega y Gasset made quite a stir with his assertion: “Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia” (“I am myself and my circumstance”). The challenge I’m having with Ortega y Gasset is that he seems to be a philosophical brother to Husserl and Hegel, both of whom John Paul II opposes:

  1. Husserl, because he continues and expands Cartesian positions (which drive toward Rationalism, pushing God-Creator-Savior to the fringes)
  2. Hegel, because the master/slave element in his 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit (JPII says) places “in doubt the truth about God who is Love and leaving man only with a sense of the master-slave relationship.” [from Crossing the Threshold of Hope, below]

From reading briefly on OyG, it appears that he transcended the #epicfail of DesCartes’ ‘cogito ergo sum’ when he proposed his ‘razón vital’ in his 1935 History as System. The thing I like about “raciovitalismo” (philosophy of vital reason) is how it agrees with JPII’s 1994 Letter to Families, Gratissimam Sane.

In the spirit of celebrating Time’s 2013 Man of the Year, Pope Francis, and the media’s fascination with him speaking in multiple languages (when most popes of the past century knew 3-4 languages, minimum), here is the same quote from John Paul II’s “Letter to Families” to enjoy three-fold:

(in English)

The family itself is the great mystery of God. As the “domestic church”, it is the bride of Christ. The universal Church, and every particular Church in her, is most immediately revealed as the bride of Christ in the “domestic church” and in its experience of love: conjugal love, paternal and maternal love, fraternal love, the love of a community of persons and of generations. Could we even imagine human love without the Bridegroom and the love with which he first loved to the end? Only if husbands and wives share in that love and in that “great mystery” can they love “to the end”. Unless they share in it, they do not know “to the end” what love truly is and how radical are its demands. And this is undoubtedly very dangerous for them.

(en español)

La familia misma es el gran misterio de Dios. Como «iglesia doméstica», es la esposa de Cristo. La Iglesia universal, y dentro de ella cada Iglesia particular, se manifiesta más inmediatamente como esposa de Cristo en la «iglesia doméstica» y en el amor que se vive en ella: amor conyugal, amor paterno y materno, amor fraterno, amor de una comunidad de personas y de generaciones. ¿Acaso se puede imaginar el amor humano sin el esposo y sin el amor con que él amó primero hasta el extremo? Sólo si participan en este amor y en este «gran misterio» los esposos pueden amar «hasta el extremo»: o se hacen partícipes del mismo, o bien no conocen verdaderamente lo que es el amor y la radicalidad de sus exigencias. Esto constituye indudablemente un grave peligro para ellos.

(in italiano )

La famiglia stessa è il grande mistero di Dio. Come «chiesa domestica», essa è la sposa di Cristo. La Chiesa universale, e in essa ogni Chiesa particolare, si rivela più immediatamente come sposa di Cristo nella «chiesa domestica» e nell’amore in essa vissuto: amore coniugale, amore paterno e materno, amore fraterno, amore di una comunità di persone e di generazioni. L’amore umano è forse pensabile senza lo Sposo e senza l’amore con cui Egli amò per primo sino alla fine? Solo se prendono parte a tale amore e a tale «grande mistero», gli sposi possono amare «fino alla fine»: o di esso diventano partecipi, oppure non conoscono fino in fondo che cosa sia l’amore e quanto radicali ne siano le esigenze. Questo indubbiamente costituisce per essi un grave pericolo.

Crossing the Threshold of Hope

JPII hammers Hegel’s master-slave construct in the conclusion of Crossing the Threshold of Hope, (in fulltext English, see p. 117):

Is contemporary man truly moved by a filial fear of God, a fear that is first of all love? One might think – and there is no lack of evidence to this effect – that Hegel’s paradigm of the master and the servant is more present in people’s consciousness today than is wisdom, whose origin lies in the filial fear of God. The philosophy of arrogance is born of the Hegelian paradigm. The only force capable of effectively counteracting this philosophy is found in the Gospel of Christ, in which the paradigm of master-slave is radically transformed into the paradigm of father-son.

The father-son paradigm is ageless. It is older than human history. The “rays of fatherhood” contained in this formulation belong to the Trinitarian Mystery of God Himself, which shines forth from Him, illuminating man and his history.

This notwithstanding, as we know from Revelation, in human history the “rays of fatherhood” meet a first resistance in the obscure but real fact of original sin. This is truly the key for interpreting reality. Original sin is not only the violation of a positive command of God but also, and above all, a violation of the will of God as expressed in that command. Original sin attempts, then, to abolish fatherhood, destroying its rays which permeate the created world, placing in doubt the truth about God who is Love and leaving man only with a sense of the master-slave relationship. As a result, the Lord appears jealous of His power over the world and over man; and consequently, man feels goaded to do battle against God. No differently than in any epoch of history, the enslaved man is driven to take sides against the master who kept him enslaved.

After all I have said, I could summarize my response in the following paradox: In order to set contemporary man free from fear of himself, of the world, of others, of earthly powers, of oppressive systems, in order to set him free from every manifestation of a servile fear before that “prevailing force” which believers call God, it is necessary to pray fervently that he will bear and cultivate in his heart that true fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.

These multiple languages and advanced concepts all have a point: marshmellow-heads never have the joy of seeing their work land on the surface of Mars, or other signature achievements across fields requiring advanced study in any industry. They are only kept free by the efforts of those better than themselves, adapting John Stuart Mill’s famous quote that war is not the ugliest of things, from Fraser’s Magazine, Feb 1862.

Recapping the closing paragraph of yesterday’s post, With all thy getting, get understanding…, the key security message Keith Lowery delivered to Hackformers on 15 Mar 13, was that hidden risks and security gaps are the elephant in the room for environments that are not open to learn.

The more experienced architects and maintainers of big data approach their craft with an increasing humility as they learn more and more about the complexity which we so often confuse with wisdom, intelligence and understanding.

Carpe Diem!


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