Mind Over Matter

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/06/16 at 12:00 AM

A major problem nowadays is that too many people (including too many Catholics) think that a statement or idea is true merely because they think or believe it is true. In other words, the individual has assigned to himself the task of determining what is true or false. Modern American culture is based on the idea that each one may decide for himself what he can think, believe and do in the moral order. When it comes to physical matters, no one disputes the laws of nature. Only a fool would think he could repeal the law of gravity. Yet, too many decide they are at liberty to repeal or ignore whatever ideas or laws they don’t happen to like. As a result what is really important in life is left to subjective interpretation, usually of those who have no intellectual background to decide on such matters as the nature and destiny of man. When anyone claims the right to reject natural order or divine law, he is on a very slippery slope.

Let’s revisit the concept of truth. Truth is a concern only of humans. Animals are not even aware of truth. Their nature and destiny is something they never ponder. Previously in these pages I stated that truth is reality: what really is, not what we think is. St. Thomas Aquinas, arguably one of the most brilliant men who ever lived said that truth is the conformity (agreement) of the mind with reality. Note: he did not say that truth is the agreement of reality with someone’s mind.

This reality, of course, refers what is called objective reality. There is such a thing as legitimate subjective reality such as favorites foods, or books, or people. We naturally develop favorites in such matters and no can say that your choice is wrong. Another may have a different choice, but both are right. My favorite flavor is probably coffee, and if yours is vanilla, so be it. But, when we try to make subjective evaluations of objective reality, then a choice can be judged to be in error. For example, a person decides that the Ten Commandments are out of date and need to be re-evaluated. (Ted Turner actually  proposed this idea.)

Recently a reader criticized me for daring to write that an idea is not true just because you think it is. An idea is, in fact, true if it is real. For a long time, people believed the earth was flat. There is no record that earth flattened itself out to accommodate the false belief. Nor is there any record that God redesigned the earth to fit a mistakeN understanding. Blood-letting was an acceptable medical practice in the time of George Washington. Later study showed that it was not a realistic way to deal with medical problems and was dropped. Objective reality is, simply, true by definition. Therefore,  if you state what is objective reality to be true, you are correct.  However, if you declare objective reality to be untrue, you are incorrect . . . regardless of how much you wish, want or believe your declaration to be true.

This unworkable attitude toward truth leads contemporary society to attempt to make subjective preferences compulsory such as same-sex marriage, feminism, extreme environmentalism, and unworkable government theories, political correctness and on and on. The attitude is, “I think it is right; therfore, everyone else should, too.”

Objective reality is far more important than subjective reality because, as truth, it is permanent, inadmissible , logical , and more often than not, a part of the divine plan. The human mind is designed to accept and appreciate reality, objective truth. In fact, life in a world of purely subjective truth would be chaotic, at least. There would be no order, no guidelines, no standards for anything, no right or wrong, no true or false, no necessary or unnecessary. The result would be chaos in thinking and acting. Ye, that is precisely where we are headed as a society.

The ultimate source of truth is God Himself. Because of His divine nature, He cannot be involved on anything false or erroneous. Thus, divine laws are not subject to human reinterpretation. People are simply not able to pick and choose among divine teaching, and those who do so are saying, in effect, that God had it all wrong until they showed up to correct things.  Rather nervy . . . presumptuous, at least.

The next election is crucial to the United States because the current administration embodies the false philosophy of: “I belive it; therefore, it must be true”. This belief has led to a practical denial of reality in many areas and mandating of subjective evaluations on too many aspects of American life. Is the Romney any better?  It depends on how he sees reality. If he sees himself as the source of truth, he will be no better. (By the way, I am a registered Independent.)

If we as a culture are no longer willing to deal with reality, with objective truth, the rulers and shakers will be those who are simply the loudest, the most outspoken, the string-pullers, the cultural elite.

When many of us were children, we believed that Santa Claus was real. I myself was an ardent believer.As we know, time eventually enlightens us, and we come to realize that Santa is not real; he was only in our own mind. Relinquishing the idea of Santa did us no real harm because it was child’s fantasy.  As adults, we can believe ides that are  fantasies also. Adult errors are far more dangerous to us because we may believe false ideas that will impact our eternal destiny…the purpose of life is pleasure…God is too good to have a hell waiting for some….I don’t need religion because God and I have a special relationship etc. etc.

If you are living in a fantasy world regarding God and the things of God, pray that you regain a sense of reality because appearing before the divine judgment seat with nothing but fantasies  on your side will not be pleasant.


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