ELEISON COMMENTS DCCLXXXIX (August 27, 2022) : WHAT IS “REALITY” ? – I
The question could not be more basic, and yet in the engineered confusion of today, the answer is being made more and more uncertain. And it is the “scientists” themselves who are muddying the waters, as is clear from a recent item appearing in the “positive news” section of the August 21 Internet issue of the “Epoch Times”. The item is entitled, “Is Reality a Hologram? a Social Agreement? or Just in Your Mind? Scientists Explain What Reality Really Is.” We can hardly wait to find out what reality really is ! So let us look at a few quotations in the article from “scientists”, and add to each of them a Catholic comment.
1 Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Shortly before his death he is quoted as having said, “Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one.” The reality Einstein is here referring to is no doubt reality outside the mind, or extra-mental reality, and of course a mass of human beings are convinced that the world around them is outside, and not just inside, their own minds. That is common sense, but of course the modern “scientist” thinks that he is above common sense, and he is convinced that his “science” knows deeper and better. However, as Einstein seems to recognise, common sense is “very persistent”. Any ordinary man knows that his dog is not just a fabrication of his own imagination, or mind.
2 Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976). Pioneer of quantum physics, he is quoted as saying, “The same organizing forces that have shaped nature in all her forms are also responsible for the structure of our minds.” While this statement has a true sense (God made both extra-mental reality, and human minds to grasp that reality), nevertheless it is suggesting that our minds by their nature cannot help shaping what they grasp of extra-mental “nature”, in other words our minds cannot know extra-mental reality as it is in itself, independently of our minds. This suggestion is completely false, because what he calls “organising forces”, and what Catholics call “God”, shaped our minds precisely to know extra-mental reality as it is in itself, and not as shaped by our minds in the process of knowing it. By themselves, our minds are blank.
3 Peter Russell (born 1946). Physicist and religious author aiming to combine science with spirituality, is quoted as saying, “The illusion comes when we confuse the reality we experience with the physical reality, the thing-in-itself.” Now this writer is open to “spirituality”, so he is not a rank materialist, yet still he is a Kantian, cut off from extra-mental reality, because what he says here is that what we human beings “experience of reality” is not the same thing as extra-mental reality, which he calls here “physical reality” or “the thing-in-itself”, in Kant’s own language “das Ding an sich”.
In other words, like Einstein, as suggested by Heisenberg and like the mass of “intellectuals” and “scientists” of today, but unlike ordinary people who still have some common sense, Russell is accepting the mad proposition of the German “philosopher” Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) that the human mind is intrinsically and absolutely incapable of knowing what any thing is, we can only know its appearances, while it is our own minds that fabricate inside themselves what the thing-in-itself is, behind or beyond those appearances, or phenomena. Hence so many modern “philosophers” taken over by phenomenology. Yet how many of these phenomenologists will have had a dog of their own, in whose extra-mental reality they never for a moment doubted ! The dog had to be fed every day, it had to be absolutely prevented from exercising certain natural functions inside the house every day, and so on.
This crippling of the human mind by Kant – and he was merely systematising the apostasy of Europe all around him – is crucial to Catholics and to anybody who wants to save his soul. How can I take any extra-mental God seriously if there is no extra-mental reality that I can know ? When the Red Army overran Kant’s city of Koenigsberg in 1945, they smashed all kinds of things, but they carefully respected every monument of Kant, as can be seen to this day… see next week’s EC.
Communists, “scientists”, love the system of Kant,
But Catholics can only hate his unreal rant.