Theology and Ontology: Roman Catholic Reflections on Ontological Theology
By Joseph Andrew Settanni
“No being can be neutral to the Source [God] of all being. Being either witnesses to or denies the Source of being; being either accepts or rejects the Source of all being.” – Fr. Vincent Miceli
“If you want to know why theology is in such a mess today and secularism in such a position of strength, I would say that it has in large part to do with the fact that Catholic intellectuals have largely lost the intellectual muscle that Scholasticism used to provide.” – Edward Feser
The above topic may seem too abstract or, perhaps, rather abstruse to most people, admittedly. But, the entire fate of Western civilization itself hangs in the balance, by its surely tremendous implications and extensive ramifications, for absolutely all of society and culture so inclusive, without any question at all.
This is mainly due to the modern and, now, postmodern domination of myth, magic, and superstition that has, unfortunately, engulfed most of what gets called “civilized” existence.1 The then implied nihilism inherently involved has, as a direct consequence, provoked a raging ideological insanity that, by design, is necessarily destructive of culture and civilization as to its known subversive intent.
Adscititiously, the supremely radical attack upon current civilization by the Culture of Death, by Cultural Marxism as it is also correctly called, is positively well beyond mere insane transgenderism and its, thus, plainly inane demands for polymorphous-genderless toilets. A truly much greater and demonic struggle is at work, though usually unnoticed as such by the casual pedestrian mind.
The deliberately strategic replacement, for the manifest ideological reasons, of sex by the polymorphous “gender” is made tactically; this is to both undermine and subvert all human reason qua right reason, common sense, and the (classical) Natural Law teachings of the philosophia perennis in its vast entirety. Man’s human nature, concerning the humanity thereof, is being absolutely questioned and, moreover, in an insanely nihilistic manner that, increasingly, gets just ignored.
Witness Justice Anthony Kennedy’s recent insane statement that, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Thus, an endless multiplicity of just completely idiosyncratic ontologies can be enunciated at will. A single intelligible universe of perspicacious dialogue has been insolently, so to speak, closed off emotionally to allow for a multiverse of odd subjectivity that is so absurdly allowed to dance wildly, in all the halls of intellect, in a seemingly cognitive perpetuity. In plain language, therefore, the confirmed lunatics are to now run the asylum as a manufactured right.
In short, it is a direct contemptuous assault upon the goodness and truth of the Lord Almighty God and all of His creation, as to what totally is now being so quite vociferously, not accidently, condemned by the aggressive radicals, atheists, secularists, Satanists, and their various humanist-anthropocentric allies. In addition, by attacking man’s very humanity, they do reveal themselves as the true enemies of both God and man, which ought to be completely obvious by now.
The great Edmund Burke had, long, long ago, very sagaciously seen through the ever worldly, vile, and despicable “logic” of the French revolutionaries, meaning as to their obvious ontological reductionism: “A king is but a man, a queen is but a woman, and a woman is but an animal.” It is not, then, by any supposed accident that the radical-intellectual descendants of the Jacobins have rather ugly and detritus-centered minds; it is to their want and purpose to degrade humanity, as to their readily noted ideological necessity, by and through much crude dehumanization; the uniformitarian dogma of radicalism is on vilely argute display, for crushing human dignity and true freedom.
The issue is not really just lavatories, first the public commodes and then all private facilities, eventually. Much more than that is certainly and supremely held at stake. The great Catholic philosopher, Malcolm Muggeridge, had wisely asseverated that the “real argument” is always, when carefully examined, about something else that is, in fact, not openly discussed as such. What is, therefore, the real argument as the central issue notably regarding the presented concinnity of debate and supportive argumentation?
Against the lunacy present, metaphysical order itself is violently under siege by insanity claiming now to be a superior form of a new sanity; moreover, the very sense of true being, of what it means to be an actual human being, is critically and absurdly denied by the rabid radical ideologists and their many zealous deconstructionist supporters. Ideas do have consequences. Accordingly, by set definition, Christ and His Incarnation is then fully denied and vilely scorned by the necessarily attendant denigration of all metaphysical order itself.
One can, so insightfully, see how it becomes impossible, however, to credibly discuss ontological reality, ultimately ontology as the truth of being, without then logically and reasonably invoking a supportive theology for it, concerning a then positive requisite relationship to metaphysical order overall. Just a mere materiality pertaining to a terrene reality, especially finally, never really explains enough.
The logic is made simply manifest and, thus, compelling when seeking an emmetropia, a perfect vision, of truth versus endless appeals, by the radicals, vilely made to subjectivism, as if it were a new form of supposed objectivity. However, there can be no genuine civilizational progress until what philosophers had called the idios kosmos (private world) attitude gets so substantially replaced by the koinos kosmos (shared world) by which humanity rises, by the Grace of God, above mere barbarism and selfishness; unfortunately, the ugly former predisposition is now coming roaring back, with full force, as if with a horrid vengeance.
Insanity, therefore, wishes to become acceptable as the new norm of sanity, meaning normality itself, for modern and, especially, all of postmodern society and culture itself. This pushing of insanity, in the Western world, as being just the new norm has been increasing, for several generations now, and has thoroughly infiltrated both the popular culture and, no doubt, scientific culture also exceedingly well.2
Framework for Expository Delineations of Being: Ontological Theology
A few generations ago, Étienne Gilson (1884 – 1978), a famous Roman Catholic philosopher, said that there has been very little explicit philosophical writing done on the particular subject of ontology, the study of being. It is rather doubtful, since he wrote that observation as to a lack of such writing, that this situation has, in fact, really changed that significantly. Many writings talking around or, perhaps, seemingly discussing about discoursing on things, or, perhaps, done in the subjunctive (as if) case do not really count as truly important, valid, and serious efforts at intelligent and purposeful disquisition. This is not just simply unfortunate, however, it is very intellectually tragic as to its noetic ramifications and, thus, argutely sapiential magnitude.3
There have been real-world significances directly so involved. The penultimate effort of the radicals, the progressivists, is to knowingly destroy the very beingness of being, ultimately, the quite obvious, critical final attack is against, by definition, the Supreme Being. Not just a proffered matter of toilets. This all, by a cognate noetic series of interrelated fundamental inferences, must then have logical ontological implications and consequences, insinuations and repercussions, both philosophically and theologically understood; one rightly suspects that it could not rationally nor experientially, furthermore, be focused actually otherwise and, as a directive epistemic result, allied critical discussion must logically proceed.
Ontology, also known as the science or philosophy of being, is said to be the philosophical study of the truly fullest nature of all being, of all beingness; this is inclusive of becoming, existence, or reality in its totality, encompassing, by necessity, the rudimentary categories of being and their sundry associations or various affinities. What is meant as to a lack of philosophical interest, therefore, that has produced relatively so little substantial perspicacious writing on this greatly important subject?4
As the intellectual class, especially since the 18th century, has become increasingly secularized, it ought not be so very surprising that ontology has become eclipsed by other concerns more readily congenial to these highly laicized minds, if intellects they be. Secularization has, thus, become the primary hallmark of what gets called Western civilization, especially with its demonic desire to achieve de-Christianization, the antireligious form or, rather, manifest equivalent of “ethnic cleansing.” No doubt about it.
To think truly profoundly and most thoroughly about ontology is, however, to do the same about true metaphysics relating to theology, not just religion as to a study of it; the degenerate literati, the jaded cognoscenti, and especially most academicians normally prefer leaving to sundry theologians the silly, to them, subject of theology; the theologians are seen to be better at (uselessly) wasting their time that way by, supposedly, running in vacuous circles; this is seen with too often speculative epistemological or axiological studies that become circular tautologies, going nowhere fast, but do seem deceitfully erudite enough and tediously thoughtful, especially to lazy minds.
Important people, meaning here the highly-refined noetic exegetes, are supposed to so sophisticatedly discuss and write lengthy or learned tomes covering such notably “weighty” matters as phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, hermeneutics, deconstructionism, Feminist Studies, Afrocentric Studies, Pornography, etc.; and, of course, other more abstract contemporary or surely “enlightening” matters suitably ever fit for the assumed, worthy, deep mental lucubrations and advanced considerations of many presumably superior intellects; this is, necessarily, appropriately inclusive of what gets called the haughty artsy-fartsy crowd, as has been so creatively also noted, e. g., by the clever atheist novelist Tom Wolfe, mainly through his very insightful fiction.
In other words, highly specious speculations, made upon endlessly pretentious hogwash and truly vain verbiage, indicative of ineffectively parlous brains needing a cleansing. Consequently, serious discussion will cover what kind of ontology should be properly handled upon which intellectual basis, affirmative of Natural Law teachings and right reason, which sufficiently remains quite foreign to the modernist and postmodernist cognoscenti at large; this is as to a wanted ontological comprehension appreciative of being and its clearly allied, adscititious integral beingness, while not insensibly discounting theological considerations, of course, when held appropriate to the discussion, as to requisite critical cognizance.
A theological ontology would, in truth, be violative of the nature of metaphysics by mixing philosophy up with theology into forming a merely speculative basis in ontology; the purpose of what is to be done here, however, is not the formation of thoughts more proper to theology, rather, an orientation more purposefully directed toward the exploration, investigation, and examination of ontology, as it then thoughtfully informs theological considerations certainly reflective of verifiable ontological realities and many appropriate considerations thereof. Moreover, unlike the warped nominalist thinking of either the modernists or postmodernists, truth is never held to become antiquated; otherwise, it would not, by definition, be true. As Edward Feser’s Scholastic Metaphysics would agree, there truly needs to be critically discussed the beingness of being as to a serious conversation qua dialogue, for never is there an effort to wrongly absquatulate, to ignorantly abscond, from the greatly important subject at hand.
By such an exercise, it will be said to be demonstrated that the acute perception of ontological theology is the only cognizant basis for correctly grasping ontology itself, within the limits of what the human mind is capable of practically comprehending as such. But, this proposed heuristic basis is significantly best made comprehensible by not reviewing theological ontology, within the presented analytical scope of metaphysical discussion and argumentation applied with concinnity, regarding advanced theorization.
Perhaps, as will be keenly considered here, the much better and more logical, rational approach would be in seeking after an exploring of ontological theology, since Roman Catholicism holds that faith and reason are not at all antagonistic but complementary ways of thinking and knowing. For a heuristic sensibility, thus, theology and ontology, in preferring this resolution of human cognition by extension, are perceived rightly as also being corresponding principles in the desired realm of mental reality, both theoretical and experiential, in the area of philosophizing. Thus, much good thought, aiming finally toward an extramundane contemplation, needs to be given but not done in any silly, fugacious, or quick manner; deep consideration is warranted.
And, this will here be presented, as it has been appropriately known for many centuries past, meaning, at the least, back to Aristotle, called, in a commendatory manner by St. Thomas Aquinas, as simply “The Philosopher.” But, more immediately to the point at hand, it is good to have definitions, so that one can try to understand better what is being talked about or said. Ontological theology, as to a definition, is the cognitive attempt to relevantly extrapolate and deduce the beingness and other qualities thereof concerning existence, haecceity and quiddity, hypokeimenon, of the essence of reality, in theological terms invariably, when certainly pertinent to an architectonic metaphysical order, which grave point needs to be requisitely kept clearly in mind.
More simply put, in a negative manner, no God, no ontology, no metaphysical order. There would be no need for theology either; it would be, moreover, utterly nonsensical to ever even entertain any religious speculation whatsoever. What is a solid premise, as a major principle, for such an assertion that should lead to an ongoing zetetic attitude?
Because the entire universe is all merely contingent being, meaning that no necessity or will within any of material matter ever sought consciously to create itself, only the Supreme Being’s prior existence, as St. Thomas and the Scholastics had made known, and attendant reality, also, can reasonably and rationally account for contingent being’s existence. Otherwise, among other basic principles, nothing comes from nothing; moreover, in fact, nothing really ever could. A contingent creation logically shatters the pompous and pretentious reasoning of materialism, naturalism, and anthropocentric-humanism all together and, moreover, without rational question to the contrary.
It needs to be, thus, stated here unequivocally for emphasis that the modernist patterning of being has been irretrievably defective, as to causative existential or phenomenological relationships within the scope of existence, of any conceivable reality worth considering, meaning especially as to any measured weight of validated intellectual gravity. Furthermore, the absurd nominalist proposition, concerning unctuously and endlessly asserted kinds, of the postulated ideological heterogeneity of being is, upon a just and yet a reasonable reflection, simply false; this is supremely because the exo-logical experientialism of so many seemingly clairvoyant, e. g., deconstructionists (and others) exude quite fathomless preponderances of absolute certainty that, by definition, are so denied inherently by their very own skeptical (or cynical) analyses. Q. E. D.
If ideological constructs (as seen ideo-genetically in White, male authors) are cited as falsifying data, reasoning, or information, then how are the radicals, paradoxically, claiming to be only pure agents of immaculate perceptions, while all others are, of course, said to be only corrupt or corrupted by their fixations – but, not the radicals with their own secularist-ideological presuppositions? And, for that matter, why should theonomic proposals, centering on theocentric assertions of truth, including the truth of being, be any less true than variously suggested “deconstructed” theology, history, science, or whatever? What is really going on, however, is well known to informed minds. It is an “intellectualist” con game conducted deliberately by the ideologists, by the mere pretenders to knowledge, the new vile sophists both in and out of a mainly degenerate academia.
Much more than that, the protreptic translational argumentation for the beingness of being, for the true reality of existence, as developed by Aristotle, the Scholastics, and others, has created an ontological level of awareness present that the postmodern reprimitivization and rebarbarization wishes, thus, to destroy humanity for then better celebrating the demonic materialism of its apostate neopaganism.
Contingent reality as a fact, nonetheless, makes a mockery of any materialistic certitude of judgment. All the dedicated secularists, humanists, atheists, and even the cowardly atheists known as agnostics, called here cognitively blind observers, try, however, to avoid all profound discussions of the very contingency of primal reality, of totalist beingness itself, especially on a fully universal scale of philosophical dialogue. They have, in fact, to do so to then remain as they are, deliberately ignorant and, thus, quite satisfied to forever remain so at all costs, which is, in truth, fundamentally necessary for their peculiar kind or form of fairly hardened faith, or as Feser puts it, The Last Superstition, the title of his cogent book on atheism.
All true materialists must, of course, remain fundamentalists in their belief by ascribing the foundations of their credence to the pervasive secularist dogma upholding humanist Naturalism as supremely central to their unquestioned faith, their then apparent devotion. Such oddly genuine fundamentalism is, thus, usually terrifying to observe or encounter; they would, seemingly, put even the Renaissance Fraticelli to shame as to their own very adamant fanaticism. (They had openly revolted against the entire true authority of the Church and were, subsequently, declared to be heretics, in 1296, by Pope Boniface VIII.)
People ought to ask such confirmed and well-known atheists as Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller how they are able to maintain and sustain such a truly great faith in humanist Naturalism (or whatever), which, in effect, puts many Christians, who may think of themselves as religious people, to shame in comparison. But, atheism’s aberrant view presents only a defective and shallow ontological perspective not worthy of true rational thought, for the ultimate denial of metaphysical order, in effect, results in the total renunciation of practical sanity; venerated solipsism beyond reason and an extremist egotism then parodying mental functionality replaces human sanity. Good and pertinent reading includes Fr. Vincent Miceli’s The Gods of Atheism.
Materialists do wish to absurdly peel the entire philosophical onion to supposedly get at the true onion, and, to their (feigned?) surprise, do find nothing should they attempt such a vain search. Not meant in any pantheistic sense, but only God is the real totality of being qua the Supreme Being, or else nothing. There is no via media approach whether axiological, epistemological, or ontological. If these assumed quidnuncs are so queried about, say, the Big Bang and then asked, logically, about what came before any of it, they draw a blank as empty as is their dead, vacuous minds. Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking, by Daniel Q. McInerny, should be consulted by them. In any event, continency gets not then confronted; nothing, absolutely nothing, must or has to exist, however, within the entire universe, for (mere) matter, by definition, lacks will.
Well, ontological theology, not having any obviously predisposed anti-metaphysical prejudices, can freely and readily encounter thoughts and considerations about a fully contingent universe and much else besides, onto much extended and involved discussions involving, if necessary, even infinity itself. The nonbelievers or firm skeptics do, ironically, have a definitely great faith, certainly much extremely greater assurance than the common, average religious believer may have concerning the grand abstraction of metaphysical or supernatural order as to a topic.
Although their tellurian materialist beliefs, which are, by definition, totally nonmaterial in nature are yet held unconditionally as being supposed true, there is no thought held by them to be intellectually valid, in set absolute contradiction, about any asserted supernatural order, as to belief. In their deliberately warped minds, immateriality only always works one way, in their so bigoted favor, and without critical question. Such plainly moronic reasoning, applied ever against ontological theology, then demands to be rigidly respected and so accepted as cognitively valid; this is while all overt contradictions in logic are to be just axiomatically dismissed as irrelevant pertaining to fundamental judgments of actual truth, of substantial veracity. Very convenient, indeed, especially with often anfractuous, circuitous, efforts at intramundane modernist reasoning so-called.
Cutting through such pubescent nonsense and applied mental trickery, one then sees that a contingent universe must have a parallel and coordinate ontological reality matching perfectly the experiential, existential, and realistic demands of human beings faced with the totality of a universal reality as to the beingness of being; this is versus the fact that nothing, as to material reality, could ever, even after billions upon billions of years, will itself into being, much less the total actualization of any beingness itself.
This noted beingness of being, this demonstrative haecceity, must be rationally confronted by any rational person; it is not a supposed metaphysical projection of reified matter or divinized materiality. In short, something or, rather, someone had to so logically precede the observed and measurable physical existence, as to a definite will allowing for the actual empirical existence, the creation, of all the existence that, in fact, exists concerning reality, the absolute and unqualified entirety of the universe.
Thus, ontology is ever the proper study of the nature of being, meaning its essence, its relation to existence; moreover, it is the appropriate learning of the most basic essence of what something is beyond which it cannot be known. And, this has both many important implications and ramifications beyond mere “academic” speculation as to the appropriate acute understanding of what properly consists of the universality of the universe itself, the fuller appreciation of cosmic dimensionality, as to all celestial reality; this, thus, relates to existence.
Celestial ontology can be creatively raised here as an edifying issue, for illustrative purposes, as to some past cosmological thinking. When, e. g., Albert Einstein, in 1905, had so proposed his Theory of Special Relativity, it is highly instructive and interesting to note that scientific opinion, at that time, thought that there was only one galaxy that then constituted the full reality of the larger and entire universe. More accurate knowledge had to be gained that the galaxy inhabited, by the Earth, was only one of seemingly countless others obviously available; currently, estimates are at over 100 billion of them in existence.
Edwin Powell Hubble demonstrated, in 1924, that most “nebulae” are definitely objects extraneous to the Earth’s galaxy, by using the 100-inch telescope at Mt. Wilson. The, in effect, truly massive expansion of reality has had no effect whatsoever upon the continuing and constant applicability of classical or traditional metaphysics nor, e. g., are any of the true fundamentals of Scholasticism invalidated as a consequence.
The science of cosmology, as aided greatly by astronomy, has extended cosmological reality toward a seemingly infinite magnitude regarding celestial ontology, to here say nothing of an advanced celestial mechanics, which was, in truth, entirely unknown to Einstein, at the very beginning of the 20th century, which is ever not, of course, an insignificant point to make. Neither metaphysics in general nor ontological theology in particular were affected by this absolutely tremendous hyper-expansion of galactic realities, meaning in notable terms of cognition. Considerations of the metaphysical order of reality remain the same in that the study of being remains the same and regardless, therefore, of the posited ever greater empirical magnitude of all of existence, of the entire postulated universe itself. Metaphysics is, thus, ever ready to both intelligibly accommodate and properly deal with reality, whether called scientific or otherwise.
None of those other galaxies had the power to will themselves into existence. They were there all along and just waiting to be discovered, as to their empirical and existential reality, within the universe itself. Evolutionists “think” it’s all there by just pure chance alone, at least, besides any/all assumed randomness involved. Agnostics claim not to be sure, at best. In notable contrast, theological pronouncements seek, through religion, to proclaim that creation, by definition, implies the logical and reasonable existence, the Unmoved Mover beingness, of the Creator, at last; or, much more actually, rather, “In the beginning, …,” as noted in the Old Testament, or as called by the Jewish people Torah.
Otherwise, there must be wrongly posited the ridiculous notion of a spontaneous generation of matter, as to its own so willful self-creation or motivation, as to the most primal existence imaginable. Aristotle, though only an ancient pagan of the relatively limited Greek world, basically got the correct notion by the sole use of human reason, not by revelation of any kind surely. There, by definition, had to be a primary mover, the Unmoved Mover, who had then to unquestionably be God, the Supreme Being. Though only aided by his understanding of Natural Theology, this still became, for Aristotle, totally indisputable as to the inherent logic of the situation examined by the science of his era, as St. Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas would have both agreed.
No less a posited a substantial agent could, then, logically, reasonably, or substantially account fully for all of the then observed existence, magnitude, scope, range, and depth of the absolutely vast immensity of existent ontological reality qua being itself. The assertion concerns first principles.
Nothing less would do as to a valid essential explanation, covering what could be reasoned out through the human intelligence alone, without any religious or theological promptings being added as to the empirical cognition involved. Belief in supernaturalism per se was not a consideration as to the logic concerned, as to the comprehension of being and its rather cognate beingness. Aristotle, therefore, had properly reasoned his way toward the important knowledge of metaphysical order that, as to realizing the concomitant attributes necessary for a Prime Mover, equally concluded that agent had, by reasoned logical inference, to be certainly God, the greatest realization of all of ontology to the nth degree.
However, these days, sociocultural conditions have gone significantly far beyond blasphemy, sacrilege, and outright sodomy all combined; for it is axiologically worse, as God is boldly nihilistically said openly to be and denounced as only absolute evil; and, what was and is so truly evil, thus, gets both officially and institutionally, by governments no less, praised as completely being absolute good. The extremely dark, satanic Nietzschean transvaluation, total transformation, of values is seen in the deathly embrace of the black abyss explicitly desired, as it was, by Nietzsche.
He had clearly recognized what the very cowardly liberals of his era, with their atheist orientations, were much too faint-hearted to so realistically accept and logically embrace, meaning along with their (often covert) secularization as, e. g., with Kant and so many others. Nietzsche, therefore, fully embraced the demonic lust for death, both warmly and willingly, unlike the (evil) advocates and snide champions of Liberalism who refused to honestly recognize the manifest logic of their preaching, meaning as to what its pro-death conclusion must invariably be. A truly honest representative of the nihilist spirit of Manchesterian Liberalism was the (pre-converted) Ebenezer Scrooge, whose Malthusian enthusiasm had openly wished death upon the poor, in the squalid name of an exuberant Capitalism, of classical Liberalism. Thus, triumphant modernity, when revealed to crystal clarity of philosophical and theological exposure, openly favors the Gospel of Death.
In true contrast, the ontological theology of the Athanasian Creed, Apostles Creed, and Nicene Creed affirm the Sign of the Cross, the Glory Be, and, of course, the Trinitarian Dogma; the Gospel of Life is, therefore, seen splendidly in the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the Mediatrix of all Graces; moreover, the so glorious Transubstantiation of the Host exists, for one, also, sees the true kratophany of Christ’s birth, an irruption into history itself, a break within the time-space continuum unprecedented, by sure definition. Catholicism, thus, remains the best ontological antidote to nihilism and its many lethal consequences as favored by the nihilistic-demonic radicals and their thanatophilic supporters of progressive decadence and degradation. The theocentric, Christocentric, orientation is widely different to a very monumental degree.
The God-Man’s very existence in Nature had then redesigned and reinvented (mere) earth history, by so transforming ontological order, in making it a definite part of actual salvation history, a realization, for instance, that the Protestantism of Eric Voegelin could not handle, for he totally refused to believe that Jesus physically appeared to Saul (St. Paul) on the road to Damascus. The Creator, by definition, of all ontological order was, in Voegelin’s poor mind, somehow the dependent subject of creation, not the absolute Master of it; he had accepted, as a nominalist on this issue, an inverted ontology as being true and, thus, made more congenial to a supposed anthropocentric realism.
But, this then yields a much truncated ontological supposition, postulating a substantially diminished sense of being, that wrongly seeks to limit the metaphysical order to lesser realms of certainty, as to the possibilities of supernatural potency and capability; in short, Voegelin thought he simply knew better, contrary to the New Testament. But, nonetheless, is this really and trenchantly tenable?
The true ontological mastery involved covers explicitly, e. g., the Trinitarian Dogma concerning the Holy Trinity, though a clear mystery incapable of ever being encompassed as to its awesome totality by the mere human mind, presents yet the ever absolute instantiation of being to the most superlative degree possible and without any question; more than that, it is the both forcefully adamant refutation and ardently thoroughgoing condemnation of any immanentist ideological preferences made imaginable, for there is the surely unexampled exaltation of the Being of God as, in truth, incorporating three separate persons no less. Respect for beingness and, moreover, personhood exists triumphantly and explicitly.
This, positively inclusive of such needed dogmas as the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension of the Christ and Immaculate Conception, makes Roman Catholicism substantially and substantively unlike any other religion; and, this puts its theology at the very unparalleled height of both clear ontological presentation and affirmation, which, consequently, so posits an ontological theology that commands philosophical and theological attention and respect.
It could fairly be noted, regardless of this article’s “default writing” on being because of a basic lack as indicated by Gilson, that this truly remarkable situation has lasted for over 2,000 years and still counting. And yet, this mere noted time factor is, in a larger context, the very least of what supremely so recommends the commanding thought and reflections pertaining to the subject of being, as a here noted subset of considerations of Supreme Being, of metaphysics of a necessarily rather high order, at a bare minimum.
Only the truly dead, insane intellect of an atheist is not naturally awed by the compounded axiological, epistemological, and ontological argumentation so involved, toward an invited magnanimous dialogue upon the interesting subject of being. Of course, small minds, if minds they be, still dismiss all of this as solely miraculous-sounding mumbo-jumbo having no meaning whatsoever, due to an absurdly inverted intellection done by only mortal, meaning by definition, imperfect beings. Creatures, which from outer space look like tiny microbes crawling on the surface of this planet, exercise the quite odd effrontery of making officious-sounding, preposterous pronouncements about the asininely assumed nonexistence of all of metaphysical order itself. Nothingness beyond observed experiential materiality itself, which, in effect, becomes then divinized matter, gets amazingly exalted. How so?
It is then, as with other instances correctly cited, a clear form of insanity in believing, meaning actually lending solid credence to, the thought that materiality is ever the be all and end all of just everything imaginable. More to the most salient critical point, those who do incredibly doubt this obvious fact of metaphysical order are themselves, of course, insane. They do lack the right common sense ability for properly conducting profound intellection of a high order and, therefore, no rational mind should accord any due respect, demanded deference, for the insanity of the evident belief in nothing.
One sees that nothingness, and its own presumed presentment, commands the questionable respect of surely quite irrational and illogical minds. The atheist-denounced miraculous reality of all supernatural order is more normative, moreover, than is usually suspected these days; and, the beingness of being gets confirmed more intensely, by metaphysical order, than by any secular-humanist appeals to vacuous nothingness.
Any miracle, however, is nothing at all special to the Supreme Being, merely a plain and quite ordinary fact of just His own simple existence. Human beings, however, call supernatural order’s ways, of course, miraculous, not God. While it is incomparably true that God, by definition, cannot contradict His Being, nonetheless, the Author of Creation is, therefore, not in any ontological subjection to His own creation, as the Scholastics properly knew, through the philosophical development of ontology’s epistemology.
The alternative, covertly offered by atheism’s vain quest, is the supposed divinization of mere material matter as the ersatz god substitute, though such artsy legerdemain is not, of course, ever meant to be noticed, as nothingness gets worshipped. The opposite viewpoint is the assertive beingness of being athwart the nothingness of nothing. How can this needed comprehension be then better explicated?
The Epistemology of Ontology as Supporting Ontological Theology
Among the ancient Greeks, Parmenides is cited as having been among the first to suggest an ontological characterization of the central nature of reality. Plato, in his The Sophist, considers the topic of being. In the ontology of St. John the Evangelist, the Greek Logos was, in his Gospel, translated as the Word and, for believing Christians, the Word made flesh, the Christ. In effect, it ought to be properly realized that all of Roman Catholicism, when interpreted by theological orthodoxy, is so truly representative of ontological theology, which would not have been disputed by Aquinas.
More adamantly here to the point, Roman Catholicism, being quite explicitly an incarnational religion of a high order, had to suitably develop a profound awareness of ontology and ontological teachings, in cognitive and demonstrative support of theological certitudes, dogmas and doctrines, of the Faith. It could not be otherwise.
In the modern era as to philosophizing, meaning at least since the 17th century, René Descartes (1596–1650), a dedicated nominalist, derailed both epistemology and ontology; however, the term “ontology” itself was first utilized, in the philosophical lexicon of Rudolph Goclenius in 1613, as a most convenient synonym for metaphysics; also, it was used by Johannes Clauberg, and what would later come to be its particular felicitous presentation, as being the primary or highest division of metaphysics, was done, in the 18th century, by Christian von Wolff in his Philosophia Prima sive Ontologia published in 1730; he is, thus, largely credited with actually popularizing usage of that particular term.
Before the Modern Age or even the Middle Ages, what was held to be the science of being had kept the designations rendered as to formal cognizance by its acknowledged, ancient progenitor Aristotle; these do run the gambit, e. g., from calling it the first philosophy, wisdom, and, since metaphysics had not yet acquired any overly specified subdivisions, also theology. Ontology as theology, concerning older usage, could be said to just analogously participate in Divine Reason, not just human reason alone, as is so very appropriate, of course, for an incarnational religion and attendant explications as such.
Metaphysics proper, as a separate term, was rendered a much broader allowance of meaning by Wolff regarding intentional differentiation. He separated the denomination of “real philosophy” into general metaphysics, which he, in addition, had decided to partition as certain subdivisions to name: ontology and special ontology, the later term is meant to cover cosmology, psychology, and theodicy. All of this presupposes, of course, that there is, in fact, an objective reality in existence; otherwise, all bets are off.
Traditionally, the majority of Catholic philosophers have, more or less, maintained the fairly neat kind of compartmentalizations developed by Wolff. Ontology’s subject matter, as a direct consequence of this discussion, is typically organized or formulated in a sequential order of proper consideration. Being is said to be an objective concept, moreover, in its broadest array of intelligibility that covers both actual and potential being, and this is the initially examined aspect of it when, e. g., given in formal courses.
Also, by logical extension, the appropriate problems concerned with essence, meaning the nature of being and existence. In addition, as to interrelationships and connectedness, both “act” and “potency” are necessarily deliberated attributes, while the chief principles, inclusive of contradiction, identity, etc. are demonstrated to naturally arise from the allied concept of entity within all of the larger realm of ontological speculation as such.
Next, there comes those considerations of what are said to be qualities that logically coexist with the reality of being and beingness; these do include truth, unity, and goodness, as implicit attributes of all metaphysical order, because they are, rather axiomatically, related to the concepts of order and beauty that are expostulated. The closer toward the concept of perfection, the true, the good, the beautiful, and the reality of order, the greater then the philosophical realization of the highest vision of ontology.
In this philosophical arrangement, truth, beauty, and goodness are ultimately seen as one; what is supremely true must be, by definition, genuinely beautiful and, if so, it must, by definition, possess all attributes of true goodness too. In short, there is the expression of the phrase: the true, the good, and the beautiful, for Christianity naturally, e. g., necessarily and directly applies this to the Godhead, the Creator, with absolute and eternal meanings; this is where, of course, human reason can point to Divine Reason as governing the universe and beyond; thus, it is not surprising if further thoughts may point toward ontological theology as a logical consequence of ontology, of the cognizance of existence or being.
There are, as formally presented, the essential core divisions of being into the finite and the infinite, the contingent and the necessary, and other such primary divisions appropriately illustrative of the main means of so classifying these perceived categories. One can interestingly note the subdivisions, e. g., of the finite that are placed into the proper classes of substance and its accidents such as quantity, quality, and other such accidents pertaining thereto. These direct appropriate metaphysical attention correctly to the objective or reality of substance, the cognate significance of personality, the relation of accident to substance being set appropriately among the usually most prominent, noticeable, topics to be, as such, then considered in noetic translation.
The finishing ration or noted comprehension of ontology is generally oriented to the concept of cause and its chief divisions; these would be then known as efficient cause and final cause, material cause and formal cause, which logically covers the objectivity and analytical character of the principle of causality that normally receives a predominant consideration in discussions of this nature. However, the various cosmological limitations and errors of either ancient or medieval science ought not to be, sophistically, laid at the feet of Scholasticism; the principles of the tradition, its integral core interests as a discipline, do not require that such baggage be absurdly kept or, perhaps, regurgitated, of course.
But, it is also important to fairly realize, due to much modernist era created confusion, to get a proper understanding of what ontology definitely is or is not. Contrary to such famous nominalist thinkers of the modern age, e. g., as Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) ontology is not ever a supposedly subjective science given to various idiosyncratic or personal interpretations, though that has, in fact, been ever attempted. However, all or any attempts have no intellectual impact whatsoever in terms of destroying the truth of ontology as to its understanding, though epistemological nominalism, one suspects, keeps trying as hard as it can, unfortunately.
Against the later thinking of Sir William Hamilton (1788—1856), who in his Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, had merely regarded it as an inferential psychology, it is definitely not of that nature whenever properly made the rigorous subject of comprehension and study. Those assertions by Kant, Hamilton, Edmund Husserl, in his Logical Investigations, and others are really only deformations, solely distortions, of the correct understanding here needed; they have directed attention away, unfortunately, from the requisite study of ontology now perceived as being mainly trivial in nature; the forces of subjectivism and its application has, continuously, corroded the knowledge of it further.
As a result, there needs to be, through appropriate critical theorization, an important reconstruction of philosophy in the postmodern era. Of course, among other writers, in 1914, Fr. Peter Coffey (1876 – 1943) published his neo-Scholastic work: Ontology, or the Theory of Being: An Introduction to General Metaphysics that went against the subjectivist trend. Although he was, e. g., thought to be one of the most influential philosophers of the past century, W. V. O. Quine’s (1908 – 2000) correct rejection of the false analytic–synthetic distinction does not at all, for instance, make up for his unfortunate defense of ontological relativism, as is explicitly seen in his Ontological Relativity and Other Essays.
Ontology as to itself, therefore, should not be interpreted as any supposed knowledge of the absolute such as in theology, for in its distinct form, it is always naturally separate from theology; consequently, the supposed projection if it as being ultimate reality, whether, e. g., conceived as matter or spirit, is also then completely wrong; though those called Monists do consider it to lie beneath and yield the existence of individual real beings and their human expressions as such, this view must too be rejected as just being totally false. Such aberrant views are clearly misrepresentations, falsifications, or improper alterations of the correct knowledge of proper ontology, as is demonstrated in this present article.
Ontology, when seen in a clear light of human reason, is a fundamental clarification and interpretation of the ultimate components of the entire domain of experience. All these components, perceived as individuals with their characteristics, then do possess features or parts held in common. Thus, whether considering such a diversity as atoms, molecules, fauna, flora, humans, and the Supreme Being, all concur in this ontological comprehensiveness in that all possess being, have characteristic essences, are individual unities, substances, contain truth and goodness, and, with the one notable exception of God, have accidents pertaining to their own natures; in addition, as to characteristics, all then are or may be causes, for existence, in a sense, can be appreciated as being either simple or complex.
All these above collective attributes, regarding different cited instances of being, logically do mandate the ability to provide definition and explanation; there is to be definition not just of their mere names, rather, an analysis of the real object, as to the particularities of being, which the human intellect then abstracts and reflectively processes or considers. And, thus, there are rather definite infrastructural implications as to the particular cognition involved.
Consequently, ontology needs to be rightly perceived as the essential science to be acknowledged; this is because it, of its inherent speculative necessity, researches the truly fundamental ingredients of and the principles logically presumed by what are called the specialized sciences. One can be informed by such works as Frederick Wilhelmsen’s Being and Knowing, meaning as to the truth of what needs to be said. And, as, perhaps, could be guessed by now, all the other chunks of speculation as to philosophy, ethics, logic, cosmology, theodicy, sociology, and psychology, are dependent upon the underpinning necessarily constructed by ontology. Wilhelmsen knew that it is even more so true for Catholicism’s incarnational faith regarding any rational and truly apposite approach toward a constructive philosophy.
In proper addition, all of the physical sciences, meaning, of course, biology, biochemistry, astronomy, geology, physics, astrophysics, chemistry, ecology, biology, as well as the consideration of mathematics assume, in fact, the same existing foundations as to necessity; without any ontological reality, moreover, there is no reality to be studied, physical or human. However, ontology is still reliant upon the directive of what needs to be known as analysis, though not translational within the order of synthesis, on those cited sections of knowledge; the metaphysics of being begins with their data and uses their information in properly illuminating their many various and descriptive presuppositions and principles.
Ontology is often alleged to be concerned with only abstractions having no substance in reality. And yet, one still intelligibly recognizes that science, in essence, is concerned with considerations of the abstract, the universal, not always seemingly or, for that matter, immediately with the concrete and individual. Thought is rendered to the particular fact that the physical sciences, as to their nature as such, abstract the various phenomena from their discrete or distinct subjects; I fact, one perceives that the mathematical sciences do, thus, abstract the matter of quantity, as pertaining to number and dimensions thereof, from its own peculiar setting as to what could, theoretically, be unto infinity.
Ontology, as a consequence, ultimately abstracts what remain; this then concerns, usually, the essence, existence, substance, causality, etc. of the subject or subjects in question. One cannot rationally purport to explore the rather absurd notion that, of these final attained abstractions, there can then be obtained no actually distinct knowledge. Moreover, the often pretentious attempt to then pursue the avowed negation of their comprehension demonstrates that the human intellect has some knowledge, ironically, of that which it, yet supposedly, seeks to refute.
The rather disciplined and rational effort of ontology, as to the now significant point asseverated, only then commences to develop translationally that kind of elementary or basic knowledge to see it become still more distinctive and comprehensive, in comparison. There is, or should be, a methodically settled ontology embedded, therefore, in every formal proper course of Catholic philosophy; and it is suspected strongly that to its theoretical and developed ontology that philosophy is, consequently, appropriately indebted.
This is rigorously concerning its certainty and steadiness, while the marked deficiency of an adequate or better ontology in other perceived systems elucidates, in sharp contrast, their often basic nebulousness and variability attributable to nominalism, to subjectivism, often in a so clever disguise. Most generally, moreover, tons of applied verbiage or diverse semantic gymnastics tries to make up for a real lack of solid thought and genuine erudition.
In heuristic reiteration, the name of Aristotle comes to mind as the one who first created a precise and established ontology for philosophy. In his Metaphysics, Book IV, one notes that he critically analyses the basic elements, called “first philosophy,” to which the human intellect condenses the truly wide world of extant reality. The medieval philosophers, who took up the classical tradition, develop wisely his writings as to formulating the foundation of their insightful commentaries in and through which they not only enlarge and explain the cogitation presented, but often take out errors and augment the knowledge gained in the higher light of Christian Revelation.
One could, quite voluminously, discuss St. Thomas Aquinas and his various compositions that cover do rigorously theology and philosophy and, for instance, such late Scholastics as Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), the Doctor eximius, though some of his work, one must admit here, had been unfortunately too much damaged, at times, by the terribly subjectivist, notably modernist, inroads of nominalism. The derailment of Scholasticism by such prominent expositors had the long-term effect of doing damage to much of neo-Scholasticism (also, often denominated as neo-Scholastic Thomism or neo-Thomism).
And yet, his important (though unfinished work) Disputationes Metaphysicae has been regarded as being one of the most systematic works on ontology that had been ever compiled in any language. It very easily, of course, surpasses Aquinas’ De Ente et Essentia (On Being and Essence). However, the metatheoretical theoretics of ontology would properly require that the serious intellectual problems created by the Late Scholastics, prominently including Suarez and Francisco de Vitoria, be recognized as such; these have been delineated, e, g., by E. B. F. Midgley, in his impressive The Natural Law Tradition and the Theory of International Relations; they, also, helped to cause the deformation of Scholasticism seen, later, in what became called neo-Scholasticism, though all this is rarely, these days, understood properly nor is it normally taken account of in most pertinent discussions.
As a major historical example, Jacques Maritain, influenced by nominalism, imbibed freely of the surely significant errors of the late Scholastics that had, in turn, ruined much of his own thinking and writing; Étienne Gilson and Joseph Pieper, in forever definite contrast, were able to still avoid them by staying much closer to the tradition. A true revival of the tradition, as desired by Edward Feser, would require abandonment of merely formulaic cogitation by actively thinking through ontology’s metatheoretical theoretics to achieve a dynamic representation of the core Thomistic principles, so central to a correct exposition of them, against nominalism and its many terrible consequences. One can notably determine a practical basis for this valid concern in reading such good works as John Frederick Peifer’s The Mystery of Knowledge, which is a rather sturdy, concise, and reasoned defense of Scholasticism.
Therefore, regarding the various noted realities of ontological thought, both the corpus of Aristotelean writings and the useful medieval Scholastic commentaries are, of course, held to be its so fundamental foundation and, principally speaking, its main presentational material; but, one knowledgeably suspects, the latter appropriately intensifies, and greatly supplements both good efforts at understanding. As to a pertinent historical matter for consideration, the German philosopher Jacob Lorhard invented the useful Latin term ontologia (“science of being”) that first appeared in his 1606 text entitled Ogdoas Scholastica. So, what had happened, in a broader context, to the previously impressive edifice of Scholasticism?
Modernity as to its conceptual thrust, meaning the ascending victory of nominalism over the human mind, directed attention increasingly, ever more and more, toward the physical sciences or natural science; this was mostly inspired and enhanced in importance, as to its motivating spirit, by Francis Bacon. How so? This surely modern movement of thought directed the central basis of philosophy away from the contemplative pursuit of abstract truth for improving human knowledge and conduct.
Such empirical thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, and their intellectual supporters had refused to believe, through their corrupted epistemology, in the objective existence of reality, meaning of the object of ontology, by their severe denigration of being and, moreover, the very beingness of being. Subjectivity and experimentalism, experience and not theoretics, had replaced classical objectivity, though, ironically, done in the name of seeking a new objectivity called science or enlightenment.
It was haughtily asserted, solipsistically, that man can really know nothing, they posited, of the actual essence of any things in existence; relatedly, therefore, cited substance is but a mere mental figment of imagination; by extension, all accidents of things in existence are then merely subjective aspects of an incomprehensible noumenon; moreover, the factor of cause, with this reinforcing and self-justifying reductionism gone wild, is just to be crudely depicted a term for only a arrangement, a simple sequence, of assorted phenomena observed.
These rather arrogant repudiations of metaphysics had then been greatly accentuated, over time, by such dedicated modernists, among many famous others, as August Comte, Karl Marx, Thomas Huxley, and Herbert Spencer, the last named easily proving just how suitably well (rugged) individualism goes with a blatant subjectivism in (such crude) cognition, no doubt.
In a parallel manner, the plainly subjective and attendant psychological tendencies of René Descartes and his cohorts further darkened still more the once manifest perception of metaphysical truth, as with, e. g., self-evident truths (as was openly written of in the US Declaration of Independence). Descartes’ malignant thoughts upon the supposed falsity of causality, creating a kind of ersatz religion out of bold solipsistic skepticism, ever after had vilely plagued modern philosophy and, invariably, also aided in then corrupting such postmodernist cognitive considerations as well.
All chief concepts and principles were then subjectively thought to be either forms, somehow or other, innate in the mind or, perhaps, outcomes of its development; however, none are said to ever express an actuality regarding any possible objective reality. In illustration, Kant, in so analyzing the arrangement in his mind of the cerebral faculties, such as particular concerns for perception, judgment, or reasoning, had, supposedly, discovered in them their native forms that then show the mere reflection of subjective aspects of phenomena.
However, these then merely seem, to the uninstructed mind, to be the assumed “objective” realities such as being, substance, cause, etc.; nonetheless, they really are just, in truth, some solely subjective assessments as, thus, induced by sensory stimuli, which, in cognitive translation, can variously deceive the perceiving mind. In short, generation by generation, relativism in secularist thought gets practically deified as axiomatically being true by, in fact, its very assertion as plain (nominalist) truth so-called.
Such instrumentalist tautological empiricism, prior to the postmodern existence of deconstructionism, had not been seen before in all of human history, a form of hubris too uncontained. Kant, a follower of Rousseau and also a crypto-atheist, as was noted by Leo Strauss and others, thought of God as a mere childish anthropomorphic projection, a kind of pubescent wish fulfillment, no longer actually needed by truly mature or enlightened men.
Though most still believe him to have been a Christian thinker, Kant had used, as Strauss had properly demonstrated in his Persecution and the Art of Writing, the artful technique of practicing secret writing to better disguise his bold atheism and, thus, intentionally subversive philosophizing or, much rather, his merely sophistic philodoxy. He knew that any similar adepts, the presumably so advanced cognoscenti, could read between the sophisticated lines to get at the true meaning stated as, thus, slyly intended.
As a direct result, all of metaphysical order itself was declared just an illusion, a form of superstition, coming from the crudely brutish, primitive beginnings of man, who once had a seeming need of the supposed gods or, perhaps, of a singular “plausible” divinity for just mythologically explaining things. Kant, in short, achieved a quite thoroughgoing rationalization of Protestantism that so leads, of necessity, toward a broadly pervasive secularism in thought, society, and culture; this was, thus, until almost all of the currently prevalent Western civilization had, in truth, become almost secularist saturated beyond need, which vilely came from the Kantian-pronounced anthropomorphic projection that, supposedly, had “created” God.
Now, secularized humanity has the superb tool of (a reified) science by which all (assumed) truth as truth can be, thus, openly known through rationalism, and by later thinkers, through needed acceptance of positivism, pragmatism, and materialism: Secularization triumphant. In addition, Kant’s subversiveness is no longer, moreover, a Christian scandal because it simply now resides “peacefully,” along with the agonizing death throes of the present civilization, of course.
As a subsequent consequence of such intellection, the prior subject matter of formal ontology is then abridged greatly to the types by which the human intellect, until challenged by ardent criticism, merely projects freely into the external world. Therefore, one sees that between the two usually opposing past or contemporary extremes of Empiricism and Idealism, the classical-traditional philosophy, philosophia perennis holds, tightly and rightly, the demonstrated principles of both common sense and the still quite refined analysis of the Scholastics.
These are, of course, ever intellectually supplemented by the classical Natural Law teachings with proper respect to right reason and an unabashed appeal to the Divine Reason, which be not inconsistent with an incarnational religion, for Christ’s Divine Incarnation was, thus, the absolute glorification of being qua the Supreme Being; also, the then lesser glorification of (mere) physical matter was, then, perceived in citing both the Immaculate Conception and the (full bodily) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Resurrection and Assumption into Heaven of Jesus Christ marks, moreover, the very preeminent and surely monumental exaltation of being unto its ultimate sanctification forever, meaning eternity itself, as Fr. Miceli would have agreed.
The great principles, including the divinization of being, set behind the Incarnation were totally affirmed as to an always factual reality, as to what in actual existence had occurred, which ought to be accepted by all Christians or, at the least, Catholics. In forceful reiteration, for the significant sake of expressing an extremely important observation of a certainly tremendous magnitude, the surely fantastic implications for (simple) ontology are, of course, rather astounding; this concerns, of course, the realization that mere physical matter, as to human bodies, has truly ascended, in fact, unto the everlasting glory. For mere human beings, this would be the finality of achieving salvation, of the final goal of holy mortal beings.
At a mere minimum, concerning ontological theology, it is known that both Christ and Holy Mary are, therefore, quite physically present in Paradise. The here noted beingness of being has, therefore, been substantially and substantively reified beyond question. But, mere humans, fallen creatures of a fallen world, need a terminology for handling and discussing such things done, normally, in much lesser figures of discourse. Discussions and extrapolations appropriately denoting or affirming the terms of being, essence, truth, substance, accident, cause, and all the rest, are the words both properly articulating and communicating ideas, but representative for the clear realities yet involved. These presented realities, affirmed by ontological theology and much else, are also still quite objective aspects of the individuals that do cognitively assault, impinge necessarily upon, the senses and the mind.5
More to the main point here, they are properly determined, therefore, to be concretely external of the (mere) human intellect, not, of course, abstractly as they are known within it. The truly proper meaning of ontology is, thus, not any supposed abstractionization of being that worships, in turn, multiple abstractions; on the contrary, concrete reality exposes the necessity of there being, in effect, witnesses to the beingness of being through philosophical demonstration. In set stark opposition, the Western post-Enlightenment (read: atheist) separation of theology and ontology has then, in turn, necessarily corrupted all of human thought thereafter, whenever this fixative nominalist agenda or process gets itself demonically approved.
Nonetheless, the composing elements of otology are seen to be the final fundamental forms that the mind intuitively distinguishes, abstracts, and contemplatively scrutinizes in its effort to grasp essentially any object. Thus, through pursuing this very profound philosophical analysis, it must engage whatever data it can attain from such sources as society, culture, sociological reality, and empirical psychology, within the functional scope of civilization. But, as man is proven to be over millenniums a religious creature, human cognizance must keep advancing, thus, toward the true ground of all being.
Considerations of man’s humanitas needs then to fully transcend the regnant neopaganism, reprimitivization, and rebarbarization being forced into postmodern society and culture by both ideological fiat and statist political commands (for, e. g., many polymorphous toilets). Otherwise, the ontological reductionism of radicalization will come to onerously delete the very humanity of human beings, in pursuit of the Leftist uniformitarian dogma, where all people are merely equipollent and interchangeable social units, as to just another species merely so occupying space on this planet.
Ontological theology comes here to revivify, to solidly reactivate, the beingness of being by seeking to know why and how man is made in the image of God, not just a chance creature put into an existence by the disparate whims of a subtly divinized evolutionism, which gets, finally, deified when all is said and done. The nominalist reification of being, sought by the demonic Culture of Death/Cultural Marxism, is then perceived to be the hopeless dead end of nihilism, the fruitless Nietzschean death wish of Western civilization, as demonically seconded by Sigmund Freud and his explicitly voyeuristic psychiatry.
What gets creatively realized, however, is that the elevated meta-being of a being with an immortal soul matters greatly, pertaining to the argumentation for a substantial beingness of human creatures, who are not just interchangeable or, perhaps, solely epiphenomenological organic units possessing some relatively temporary existence or certain (clinically) observed animation. A human being is more than just the sum of his parts.
Man’s precious humanity is part of the fabulous rise up from ancient barbarism and isolating primitivism toward ever finer efforts to ethically, morally, and spiritual rise up toward a much greater philosophical awareness of the true, the good, and the beautiful; thus, the necessity of ontological considerations that do reach toward ontological theology in efforts at a right comprehensiveness of ethical, moral, and spiritual judgment of man’s relation to all of nature, meaning the reality of existence, and, ultimately, to God. It is a part of the celebration of the humanity of man, his humanization, in being risen far above the mere beasts of the field, as to possessing an image of what is truly human, lastly, being created in the image of God; this is all for best using the highest purposes of advanced civilization as a hallmark of mankind, though not here presuming to ever advance the (rightly condemned) ideological abstraction of Progress.
Dehumanization, through meanly measuring people in cold terms of bowel movements or urinary flow, reveals the disgusting nihilistic depths of what the radical imagination is genuinely all about more than listening to a thousand lectures about Karl Marx, Communism, or Feminism, cited separately or all put together. So much for the imputed determinist “meaning” of genderless toilets. Unfortunately, the Left prefers man’s enslavement to his basest instincts by accepting determinism.
With people ever reduced, again and again, to the vicious determinism of lowest common denominators, the proper religious alternative of a theology offering human freedom, known as the doctrine of free will, should rationally appear as a liberating sort of paradise on earth in comparison. An alternative, in 2016, is contemporary Venezuela, where people actually starve to death in yet another offered Communist Workers Utopia.
This is where human beings are not just some seemingly more fairy intelligent peripatetic animals qua bipedal animals but are, rather, truly sapiential beings, homo sapiens, deserving of their respect, honor, and dignity as being the children of God. By the then careful study of meta-ontology, this is surely as the foundational and fundamental integral beingness of all being, of ontological reality in the ultimate sense thereof, that so belongs to the Supreme Being who, by definition, defines all of existence, the absolute meaning of being itself. The Highest Deity is, by definition, the fullness of absolute comprehensiveness of all beingness of reality itself, thus, the Supreme Being, who has been called the First Principle, without which there is, literally to the nth degree, nothing.
Such an interesting thought is necessarily allied, furthermore, to all proper speculations and appropriate deliberations pertaining to the precise substance and definition of ontological theology related to man’s humanity and his substance of being. One perceives keenly here, therefore, that the reprehensible and too vain existential-experiential revolt against being, against ontology, can only be incommensurate and irresponsible; this is supremely regarding the rigorous cognitive comprehension of beingness necessary for sensate sapiential beings, occupying dimension, space and time, especially pertaining to immortal souls possessing consciousness for, retaining noetic articulation of, free will ever so highly above mere automatons or pure robots; and, this is why, among other pertinent and important indicative reasons, relativism, positivism, pragmatism, hedonism, and materialism do naturally go so well with determinism, not the contrary doctrine of free will.
As a philosophical product of nominalism, determinism, then, logically seeks the fullest annihilation of beingness as necessarily, inevitably, offensive to its often covert nihilistic viewpoint as was, for instance, exhibited so ardently by Martin Luther in particular and, thus, clearly unavoidably by Protestantism in general. The spirited and purposeful defense of being and beingness, the reality inherent to ontological order, is always undoubtedly requisite for the needed defense of man’s humanity and free will, as the precious gifts of the Divine Being, the Supreme Being, called God.
The human being’s possession of beingness, furthermore, adds weight and gravity to being and its valid articulation, as such, concerning cognizance of a conscience yielding consciousness, which is, in turn, the human recognition of being; this has definite clear consequences, meaning, of course, certain manifest ramifications regarding true beingness, in much more than just ether mere physical existence or organic animation alone.
One sees, for instance, that if there was ever a possible condition of “beinglessness” (nirvana) attainable for any sensate creatures, it would only be theoretically possible by a separation from the Divine Being, the Divine Reason, the Author of all Creation Himself. Whatever else that possesses being, however, does not need to then exist, which means that any nirvana is, by definition, impossible. All of reality is dependent, which is, by the way, the inherent nature of contingency, in the one necessary existence of the Supreme Being, of the Unmoved Mover, for, literally, the more than just trans-universal Being of all being.
This is, moreover, as to the comprehensible universal-cosmological existence cognate, to the nth degree attainable, only by and through so occupying all of eternity, which, by definition, subsumes all that there was, is, or will be, in and beyond existence. This, of positive necessity, then logically relates, of course, to the very definition of a supremely indesinent, omnicompetent, and omnipotent God, the Lord Almighty.
Ultimately, this why the argument, e. g., from materiality is a canard and not any real stumbling block toward truth; material existence alone, as things in themselves, are incapable of comprehending and explaining the profundity of existence qua existence, for matter, as is known, cannot will itself, among other very severe limitations of mere physical being. Materiality and physicality are related phenomena. But, the assertion of immateriality does not axiomatically equate with its meaninglessness; such matters as love, hate, hope, fear, truth, lies, greed, generosity, envy, friendship, lust, etc. obviously do then lack materiality but possess a reality nonetheless. In line with atheism-secularism, a contemporary world obsessed so greatly much with myth, magic, and superstition, due to a pervasive nominalism, demands “magicality” from metaphysical order, as if it were only another kind of just superstitious, mythic idea.
And yet, substance alone cannot explain itself. Mere contingent being and its beingness in and of itself cannot self-generate itself, meaning as to absolute origination. The then related enigmas, conundrums, and dilemmas of the rejection of metaphysical order, however, lead not toward either mental or moral clarity but, rather, to nihilism and, finally, insanity at a dead end; this can be, therefore, so rather readily observed today, in many manifest areas of existent societal and cultural realities, of civilizational decay.
When truly knowledgeable thought, aided by right reason, common sense, and traditional Natural Law wisdoms gained by centuries of cognizance, is all applied intelligently in such a fixed manner, atheism, then, becomes just a rather crude joke unfit for all serious vital intellects significantly cognizant of reality to the profoundest degrees that mere human beings can imagine. And, thus, all of an applied ontological theology verifies such an assertion because, among other reasons, real truth never becomes antiquated.
But, this observation is yet tremendously far from sufficient, as to a wanted comprehensiveness of such requisite knowledge, which ought to actually exist among surely educated people concerning the basic philosophical functionality of ontology and, thus, the importance of didactic theology and its ever right theorization. The contemporary total rejection of ontological theology means, thus, the final embrace of nihilism that must lead, of necessity, to insanity, for there is no other truly viable choice available, at that rather late point in time; it is, thus, seen that the contemporary “civilization” is notably crumbling.
Moreover, one suspects, as that highly indicative quote from Fr. Miceli, at the beginning introduction had most abundantly made clear, there is then, in truth, no via media, no real middle ground to ever choose; either God or nothing; for then quite surely, without the Supreme Being, by definition, there is nothing. With ontological order, there is the beingness of being; without it, the supposed beinglessness of being is not just easily untenable, it is just definitionally emblematic of the so much observed insanity made, now, so prevalent and pervasive. Further matters, therefore, need to be here extrapolated and inferred, meaning as to their both integral logic and verified certitude related to ontological theology and metaphysical order.
All essential qualities of a human person’s beingness, eventually, gets attention driven to the necessary metaphysical order of reality, of existence, of being, which is so fully consistent with the rendered firm positing of ontological theology for, of course, better explaining the, thus, philosophical framework for successful expository delineations of true being. And, moreover, further intellectual exploration beyond the limitations of (an often fossilized) Scholasticism would indicatively be the metatheoretical theoretics of ontology; this is rightly seen as appropriately regarding the proper translative theorization of being for, e. g., refuting anthropocentricism and its predominant secularist hold upon the quintessential contemporary mind.6
Otherwise, the being of beingness may just end up oddly discussed, increasingly, as a vacuous abstraction, seeming to suggest autonomous being as a supposed reality of persons as material objects only; this is when without regard for that which, logically, animates the actuality of all being, namely, the Lord God or, perhaps, more prosaically, the metaphysical order of reality.
Ontological reality, when accurate and cogent theorization is applied, then gets correctly understood as a proper subset of metaphysical order in general that defends the being of beingness; this is as a directly requisite part of that noted order, as well demonstrated in Wilhelmsen’s Being and Knowing. And, then, there is the possibility of a much better understanding of postmodernism as to truthful dialogical cognition, for astutely improved philosophical reflection, that may be, right aptly, sent upon a proper sapiential course of rigorous intellection; the best that fallen creatures, sinners, can do in a fallen world.7
On the highest level imaginable, moreover, ontological order and metaphysical order do, at the ultimate end, finally merge in quite formidable terms of what, at the least, Christians understand, so that all the faithfully departed, whose souls are fully cleansed, become, therefore, totally united through, by, and in Christ forever, the final Being of all beingness made whole. And, by definition, one clearly sees that as being the ultimate cosmic achievement of eternal salvation. Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus.
Athanasius contra mundum!
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Fr. Peter Coffey, S. J., Ontology, or the Theory of Being: An Introduction to General Metaphysics
Étienne Gilson, God and Philosophy
Edward Feser, Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction
___________. The Last Superstition
Daniel Q. McInerny, Metaphysics
Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, S.J., The Gods of Atheism
Cardinal Désiré-Félicien-François-Joseph Mercier, A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy: Cosmology, Psychology, Epistemology, Ontology
Thomas P. Neill, Makers of the Modern Mind
Josef Pieper, Scholasticism
Michael C. Rea, World without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism
James V. Schall, S. J., Roman Catholic Political Philosophy
Frederick D. Wilhelmsen, Christianity and Political Philosophy
_________________. Being and Knowing
_________________. Man’s Knowledge of Reality
- Both the anthropogenic climate modeling (firstly, in the 1970s, global cooling then, decades later, global warming and, currently, meaning since about the last ten years, denominated “climate change” for then better hedging one’s ideological bets, presumably) and environmentalism (as distinct from the proper Naturalist movement of the late 19th and early 20th century) that includes saving fauna and flora from extinction are extremely manifest instances of insanity generally promoted by popular culture and ideological fiat. Genuine scientists are not fear mongers, for the true science involved does not support the ideological preferences.
The latter effort to fight extinction is just, by definition, totally insane. How so? The environmentalists, evolutionists, and, moreover, scientists themselves have readily asserted that at least or about 90%, in effect, of almost all species that had, in fact, ever existed on earth have become extinct. What does this logically mean and substantially imply?
Extinction is, therefore, both simply natural for and clearly normal to all plant and animal species as to a, thus, natural process seen in verifiably explicit terms of Natural History. Is there an obvious implication? Absurd, irrational, and illogical human efforts to halt or reverse (through Frankenstein experiments or de-extinction projects) the extinction processes are then, by definition, insane; they are, thus, overtly unnatural and necessarily abnormal as is, of course, insanity itself. Q. E. D.
Neither climate change nor environmentalism exists by what used to be taken to be the official, normal science and scientific study and research. They exist, primarily, because of the intellectual, societal, and cultural predominance of a pervasive belief in myth, magic, and superstition, which all together then easily facilitates, handily enables, insanity. Unfortunately, the distinct majority of people have crescively become so quite psychologically and mentally conditioned severely today, as to not be able to clearly recognize insanity when they perceive it or encounter it.
As a major instance of contemporary insanity, nutty Pope Francis, of course, seems to want to make neo-Catholic “sacraments” out of (sacred?) carpooling and (holy?) recycling to then fight the totally nonexistent global warming. One can, pertinently, read Christopher C. Horner’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) and Tom Bethell’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science.
- Some people may object to this almost blanket assertion. The Nazi philosopher (as late as 1950, he publicly wrote in defense of Nazism) Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976), might, perhaps, get ignorantly cited, due to his famous book entitled: Being and Time. But, with his decidedly nominalist approach, his radical intention was, actually, to seek to fully undermine and attack being, not to assert its rather much needed and important philosophical defense, as noted in this present article covering ontology.
He rather certainly had, into the 20th century, and still does heavily influence an impressive, wide ranging multitude of existentialists, deconstructionists, phenomenologists, etc. now into the 21st century. Edmund Husserl’s (1859 – 1938), e. g., thoughts on formal ontology, equally, plays no part at all in this article’s different considerations, since he was devoted to mainly phenomenological and such other speculations.
- This should be a matter not lightly considered, but it is too much for the article proper. The normal expectation of flesh is for it to rot totally after death, meaning that resurrection is only of a metaphysical nature. A relatively few bodies of Catholic religious are, as is sometimes known, existing in preserved states or conditions. Again, that is the true exception as to simply mutable, corruptible, physical bodies, not the general rule. Then, it is a great matter beyond rudimentary or plain ontology and, thus, relates to clearly meta-ontological significance that, e. g., supernatural bodies in Heaven do, in fact, exist as such.
Physical reality, due to divine intervention, becomes transfigured reality or being; the very beingness of such altered being gets transported to a much higher plateau, so to speak, of then perpetual existence beyond all normal dimension, time, or space limitations. This means that the human body, made in the image of God, is the only physical reality in the entire universe actually capable of eternal glorification, meaning to be in a real salvific state of being and, more than that, Heaven is truly a real physical place, as a needed consequence of such special physicality and extraordinary materiality.
The inherent nature of physicality requires, furthermore, that it be then properly accommodated by an existence, within the realm of a now supernatural existence quite suitable, of course, for a being having acquired a supernatural (or mystical) status, meaning as to that totally transfigured physicality.
Being an openly incarnational religion, only Roman Catholicism, through its consistent theology and philosophy, (its theological and philosophical writers as Doctors of the Church), has the both needed argumentative and dialogical means, the accepted unity of faith and reason, manifestly available to help explain the many only seeming paradoxes, supposed enigmas, or complex conundrums involved. This only concerns all that actually remains below the level of actual divine mysteries, of course.
It has been well argued, however, that the true Age of Reason was when St. Thomas Aquinas had lived, worked, and wrote, not the much later so-called Era of Enlightenment. To better illustrate the meaning of this, one could cite, again: https://callthepatriot.wordpress.com /2016/04/08/myth-magic-islamic-state-and-roman-catholicisms-greatness/
- What is meant can be seen in the following: http://dialogicalpostmodernism.blogspot.com/