Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bernard J. F. Lonergan, SJ (1904-1984) - A Black Robe in Our Savage Secular World

I got home from the Leo Alumni Banquet at about 10:15 P.M. and could not turn-in until my daughter Clare bounced home from an evening of pre-prom prep-talks with the ladies of her circle - before midnight but well after 11 P.M.  I read.

I re-read passages of an old volume of Insight by Canadian Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan.  The book was given to me by Dr. Jim Kennedy, M.D.  while I was a teacher at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, Illinois. Two Doc Kennedy's kids went form Mac/La Lumiere to Boston College. 

Lonergan taught at Harvard as well as Boston College. In fact, Lonergan is regarded as one of the most original thinkers since Cardinal Newman.   Lonergan is no Noam Chomsky - the Jesuit makes sense.

We all have thoughts, insights; some are good and most are really, really bad.  Lonergan warns,  “The seed of intellectual curiosity has to grow into a rugged tree to hold its own against the desires and fears, conations and appetites, drives and interests, that inhabit the heart of man,”

My, is he judgmental.  Most geniuses are very judgemental and should be. Cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am, must beg the question , "And so what?"  Hitler was here, Charlie Sheen is here, and the Anarchist idiots will be here in Chicago on May 20th; after checking in to the various Double Trees, beefing that the ice buckets are two small, checking the cable to see if it has HBO, they will light tire fires, break windows, trash the sidewalks, shout for the TV and get taken to the joint.  NATO Summit a great idea?

Insight is all about understanding how we understand.  Lonergan holds this to be "unrestricted act of understanding" UAU.  This method holds that we Experience, We Judge and We Understand.
Experience is a restricted sense of understand and likewise the other two.  Together, man can come to some understanding. The book is structured to ask two things -What is happening when we know? What is known when that is happening?

Jesuit Bernard Lonergan is one hell of a Black Robe and a great read.  Unlike, Jesuits in 17th Century North America suffering torture and martyrdom at the hands of Iroquois, Bernard Lonergan makes too much sense and requires too much effort on the part of intellectual bigots and frauds, like Chomsky and others.  Lonergan's martyrdom is the shunning of his work.

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