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None More Blind Than He Who Doesn't Want To See

Sir John Everett Millais. The Blind Girl
"Whoever does evil hates the light" [Jn 3:20]
(Sir John Everett Millais. The Blind Girl. Source)

1) Introduction

The following text could be summarized as: "Our will can influence our reason". The sometimes mysterious connection between those two master faculties explains many errors in Philosophy. What follows is a kind of placeholder, in which I'll eventually add quotes from more serious authors who talk about this problem.

2) Moral virtues and science

Sertillanges, after Saint Thomas Aquinas, writes:

How will you think well with a sick soul, with a heart gnawed at by vices, pulled in all directions by passions, disoriented by violent or guilty affections? There is a clear-sighted and a blind state of the soul, said Gratry, a healthy and hence sane state, and a foolish state. "The use of moral virtues, says Saint Thomas Aquinas, virtues whereby the passions are harnessed, is very important for the acquisition of science".

Saint Thomas Aquinas even says that lust causes blindness of mind (which seems to be corroborated with the general philosophical and spiritual health of the average Quebecer, who is statistically mired in lust compared to the average French-Canadian before the Quiet Revolution):

Now carnal vices, namely gluttony and lust, are concerned with pleasures of touch in matters of food and sex; and these are the most impetuous of all pleasures of the body. For this reason these vices cause man's attention to be very firmly fixed on corporeal things, so that in consequence man's operation in regard to intelligible things is weakened, more, however, by lust than by gluttony, forasmuch as sexual pleasures are more vehement than those of the table. Wherefore lust gives rise to blindness of mind, which excludes almost entirely the knowledge of spiritual things, while dulness of sense arises from gluttony, which makes a man weak in regard to the same intelligible things.
[Summa theologica, IIa-IIae, q. 15, a. 3]

We can see the consequences of moral perversions in many philosophical theories. If a philosopher is a beer-soaked dirtbag who cheats on his wife, his philosophical theory will probably assert that "truth is really, really hard to find" and that "jeepers, we can't assert anything with certainty". If we can't know anything with certainty, we can't assert that adultery is bad!

In a way, the culmination of that kind of error is Atheism. Atheism is a complex phenomenon, but there are people who end up wanting to doubt the existence of God, out of sheer convenience.

3) Conclusion

How should we deal with a person who is in bad faith? In the worst case, there is nothing we can do from the natural point of view. (Supernaturally, we must pray for these people, of course! And while we're talking about religion in the "Philosophy" section, we can think about Jesus Christ, who is God Almighty and All-knowing. Jesus came on earth, was perfectly charitable, taught with great skill and, despite that, some persons of bad faith rejected and even crucified Him.)

For those who are salvageable, I feel like saying we first have to use great charity, then we have to keep a firm grip, on the discussion, so as to show them their error. But if you have better suggestions, I'm listening!

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