The Catholic Culture Podcast: Ep. 65 – Reason With Stories, Philosophize With Your Life (Vision of the Soul Pt. III)

Jan 30, 2020

Modernity elevated pure, abstract reasoning as the only way to
know about reality. Reason having disenchanted everything else,
modernity then became disenchanted with reason. The ascendancy of
reason over superstitious myths was viewed by the postmodernists as
just another myth to be exposed.

The postmodernists were right to see that the dictates of reason
were not wholly separate from our lives, self-images and desires,
but were colored by the stories we tell about ourselves. But they
were wrong to conclude that reason is therefore inherently
suspect.

That’s because human life really is imbued with an intelligible,
narrative form, and we are capable of telling true stories about
ourselves that reflect the actual story-form of our lives and
history as a whole. Reason can function as a gloss on the story of
creation. The mistake was thinking that it could ever be sealed off
in a laboratory to begin with.

It’s time to go back to seeing our lives and history itself as
the intelligible stories they really are: to set mythos
alongside logos as an essential way of apprehending
truth—and then to go beyond both as words dissolve in silent
contemplation of the One who told the story before it began.

This is the conclusion of a three-part interview with
poet-philosopher James Matthew Wilson about his book The Vision
of the Soul: Truth, Goodness and Beauty in the Western
Tradition
.

Contents

[2:52] Recovering the role of storytelling in the perception of
truth; the modern attempt to isolate reason from narrative

[12:33] How Plato used stories not just as examples but to
advance his argument and get at a comprehensive truth that reason
reaches only partially and inefficiently

[20:55] Story as the form and meaning of a human life

[24:47] Modern abandonment of story as a means to truth;
logos is crippled without mythos

[30:42] Descartes’ reduction of reason to a tool for the gaining
of mastery over the world

[33:45] The Jordan Peterson-Campbell-Jung archetypal approach as
a “poor man’s metaphysics”

[38:29] Logos as a gloss on mythos

[41:45] Postmodernist suspicion of reason as conditioned by
narrative

[44:05] The highest form of the intellectual life is silent
prayer, not scholarship or analysis

[49:10] Philosophy as a way of life; the invention of the
“intellectual” as a noun

[53:10] Practical takeaways: pray, ponder and play

Links

The Vision of the Soul
https://www.amazon.com/Vision-Soul
Goodness-Western-Tradition/dp/0813229286

James Matthew Wilson https://www.jamesmatthewwilson.com/

JMW Twitter https://twitter.com/JMWSPT

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