A Magnificent, a Wonderful Encyclical

Pater Edmund writes: “I think it is one of, or perhaps the, most important intellectual tasks of our day to recover the Thomistic understanding of nature.” If I needed any more incentive to read Pope Francis’ new encyclical—I now have it.

Sancrucensis

In his weird and partly brilliant book on infinity, David Foster Wallace writes, “what the modern world’s about, what it is, is science.” That is, the heart of the modernity as a project is the new science developed in the 17th century, which consists in the application of a certain kind of symbolic-calculation to nature through experiments for the sake of technological power over nature. This science was “new” because unlike the old science its goal was not the contemplation of the truth in the forms of things; the goal of the new science was and is practical. As El Mono Liso recently noted, “the attempt to analyze the world as a series of mathematical equations or chemical formulas is ultimately not an unbiased analysis of static essences, but a blueprint by which civilized actors seek to bend all things to their own will, in our case…

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